Beating Ayr is now or never for Raith

Queen of the South v Raith Rovers'March 10, 2012
Queen of the South v Raith Rovers'March 10, 2012
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RAITH Rovers will have to do something they have not managed all season to escape the relegation zone on Saturday.

The Kirkcaldy side have yet to beat Ayr United in four attempts this season – losing three and drawing one in league and cup.

They will have one final chance to break that jinx as the teams meet at Stark’s Park on Saturday in a crucial relegation battle.

Ayr currently sit two points ahead of the ninth-placed Kirkcaldy side, having played a game less, but John McGlynn is hoping his team can do to Ayr, what Dunfermline did to his team in last season’s title race.

“We’ve never beaten them this year, but there’s never a better time to do it than now,” said the Rovers boss.

Comparison

“Last year we hadn’t lost to Dunfermline until the last game we played them, and I’m hoping that’s a comparison we can make at five o’clock on Saturday.

“They’ve had the better of us in our previous games this season, but we would look on this one as being the most important one.

“The defeat to Queen of the South last week was a spanner in the spokes, but we need the three points on Saturday.

“They’ll be up for it, and we need to be up for it too.”

Only four of Rovers’ remaining nine league games are at Stark’s Park and McGlynn believes home form will be crucial to his team’s chances of avoiding the drop.

“The points at home between now and the end of the season will be vital to us staying up,” he said. “It’s been a while since we won away from home, although I still believe we are capable of taking points on the road.

Backing

“However, winning home games is going to be vital, and the more backing and support we get the better. We need our fans to be the 12th man and get right behind us.

“I’m sure they’ve enjoyed watching First Division football over the last three seasons, and I’m sure they’ll want more, but we have to do it together.

“We’ve had back-to-back home wins so we’re hoping the players take confidence from playing at Stark’s Park and express themselves.”

Rovers will be boosted by the return of on-form striker Brian Graham from suspension.

“If he can continue the form he showed before his ban we’ll be absolutely delighted,” McGlynn said. “He’s made us tick in the last few weeks, so it’s great to get him back in.”

Rovers’ only injury concern is with goalkeeper David McGurn, who is rated doubtful for Saturday’s match.

Two young players have bee sent on loan to junior side Musselburgh Athletic.

Ross Callachan and Colin Wilson, who have featured only briefly in the first team this season, have joined the Super League outfit until the end of the season.