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Dunfermline have launched an ambitious bid to bring Liverpool defender Phil Babb to East End Park.

The Republic of Ireland stopper is on boss Jimmy Calderwood's short-list to fill the Pars central defence with Neil Ruddock, Pat McGinlay and a mystery Dutch player also in the frame to join the SPL new boys.

The Pars boss is in Holland on a scouting mission but chairman John Yorkston revealed last night that 29-year-old Babb is a target.

He said: "Babb is someone we're considering. He is the kind of player the manager is looking for - an experienced central defender in the Alan Hansen mould, who is comfortable with the ball at his feet.

"Jimmy's in Europe speaking to players, but to sign two or three you have to speak to 12. Babb's one we are looking at, but it will be a couple of weeks before anything is settled."

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier will not be difficult to deal with over Babb, as the defender has fallen out of favour on Merseyside.

His lack of match practice was embarrassingly clear when he put in a poor performance for Eire in last week's 2-1 defeat by Scotland in Dublin.

However, Calderwood believes a match-sharp Babb can fit the bill in the Pars defence, but first he'll have to pass a thorough background check that has become club policy for every signing target.

Yorkston said: "We don't want a disruptive influence in the dressing room and certainly not one that is involved with the police every week.

"We have contacts all over Europe who can tell us about a player and will phone people at his old clubs to ask what he is like. It's more than just what they do on the park, we want to know about a player's social life and what kind of personality he has in the dressing room.

"It's vital to sign quality players but it's also important they make as valuable a contribution in the dressing room as they do on the pitch.

"We have spoken to a few players on the continent and I can assure fans that anyone coming to East End Park will improve the quality of the squad for next season."
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