Captain & ‘keeper to sign as Raith get back to work

Aaron Lennox makes a save against St Mirren last season. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Aaron Lennox makes a save against St Mirren last season. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers returned to preseason training today (Thursday) with new boss Barry Smith still to put the finishing touches to his squad.

Smith told the Press this week that he expects to run the rule over a number of trialists in the coming weeks looking to win contracts with the Kirkcaldy side.

Club captain Jason Thomson is also set to renew his contract before the end of the week, while goalkeeper Aaron Lennox, who spent last season on loan from Aberdeen, will complete a permanent move to Rovers following his Pittodrie release.

Lennox will vie with established number one Kevin Cuthbert, who is now on the coaching staff and still recovering from last season’s hip surgery, for the gloves.

“Kevin’s injury is taking it’s time,” Smith explained.

“I know what Aaron is all about from speaking to Derek McInnes and Gordon Marshall up at Aberdeen, and Kevin rates him highly too.

“He’s a young goalkeeper who has got the bit between his teeth, and he’s at the stage where he needs to be playing first team football.

“He’ll get an opportunity to do that here. He suffered a bad injury last season, but he’s fully fit now and looking forward to preseason.

“We’re expecting both him and Jason to sign this week.”

Smith also revealed that his intention is to continue with Thomson as club captain, who has held the armband for the past four years.

“I don’t see any reason to change it,” Smith said. “However, I expect there to be a lot of leaders on the pitch.”

Smith will decide whether the trialists are worth contracts before potentially delving into the loan market.

However, he stressed that money is tight and youth players will be given a chance to stake a claim for a first team slot.

“We have a budget and have to stick to it,” he said.

“The fact that players have been around but are willing to come in on trial and want to prove themselves says they’ve got right the attitude.

“If they don’t turn out to be what we’re looking for, then we could look to go through the loan market, but we’ve got young players of our own and they’ll get the first chance.

“I watched the development squad a couple of times last season but I still need to properly assess them. If they are good enough, they’ll be involved.”

Youngsters Yaw Osei and Andreas Thorsen are both expected to return to the fold after impressing at under 20 level last season.

Defender Dave McKay is another who has been retained from the development squad and is expected to push for a first team place.

Rovers have added a third friendly to their preseason schedule meaning they will now travel to Edinburgh City on Wednesday, July 5 and Clyde on Saturday, July 8 before welcoming Dunfermline to Stark’s Park on Monday, July 10.