Hughes: Gunners have Stokes say

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Falkirk boss John Hughes admits being able to keep on-loan striker Anthony Stokes is entirely in the hands of his parent club Arsenal.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has been a revelation for The Bairns since arriving on loan back in August.

The 18-year-old added to his rising potential when he struck a second successive hat-trick in Saturday's 3-0 win over local rivals Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park.

Stokes, who was named Young Player of the Month in the Scottish Premier League in October, has now scored nine goals in his last four games for Falkirk.

Hughes has been surprised and delighted by the contribution of Stokes during his loan spell, but admits The Gunners will have the final say on if he can see out the season with the SPL club.

"I would love to keep Anthony here after Christmas and we have a fantastic relationship with Arsenal, but ultimately, they will call the shots," Hughes said.

"We have first option on him, but there are a few things which will have to be looked at and, first and foremost, we have to respect Arsenal's wishes, as they might want to take him back.

"Anthony also has to want to stay up here and we have to hope nobody else is taking much notice in what he is doing for us.

"I would like to think he would want to stay at Falkirk, but it would be foolish for me to put all my eggs in one basket.

"All that matters is what Arsenal say."