Fireworks expected as Raith and Pars clash in Fife derby

Raith celebrate Bobby Barr's opener in the 2-0 win over Dunfermline at Stark's Park in August. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Raith celebrate Bobby Barr's opener in the 2-0 win over Dunfermline at Stark's Park in August. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Fireworks are expected at East End Park this Saturday as derby rivals Raith Rovers and Dunfermline go head-to-head on bonfire night.

The Pars currently sit 12 points behind Raith in the lower reaches of the Championship but Gary Locke warned that form will count for nothing.

“People will say they’ve not started that well, but Dunfermline at East End Park is always a tough fixture,” the Raith boss said.

“It’s a derby game so form goes out the window. It’s all about who wants it more on the day.

“Fortunately we won the first derby of the season, but this will be a completley different game and one we’ll have to be up for.

“I’m not looking at the league table and thinking this will be an easy game for us. It won’t be. This will be a really tough game.

“It would be great to keep the momentum going. We’ve got seven points out of nine from three really tough games - but this is probably the toughest one.

“The boys are in confident frame of mind, but it’s important we play how we did at Falkirk and not last week because we won’t get away with a performance like that.”

A derby fixture can often descend into a blood and snotters affair, but Locke is keen for his players to express themselves in the East End Park cauldron.

“We believe we’ve got a really good group of players here, and it’s important the boys believe in themselves,” he said.

“We can’t coach them that, but we certainly feel that they are better players than maybe some of them think.

“We preach that every day. We work with them and see the quality they’ve got.

“We didn’t get to play the fluent football we wanted last week, but we’re a coaching staff that wants the team to go and express itself, pass it and move it.

“On a number of occasions this year, they’ve done that really well, but unfortunately it wasn’t really that kind of game to get time on the ball.

“It was a war at times, but the boys dug in and managed to get the three points which we’re delighted with.”

Raith are expected to take a healthy travelling support across the A92 - over 800 travelled to Tannadice for the 2-2 draw in September.

“The fans have been brilliant since the season started and really got behind the team,” he said.

“There was a bit of frustration on Saturday, but they gave them a great ovation off the pitch.

“They are going to be massive for us – coming out at Tannadice and seeing the following we had there was tremendous.

“If we come out at East End Park and see that end as busy as we hope it will be, it will be a huge lift for all the players, and hopefully we can give them something to shout about.”

Scott Robertson returned to training this week, but will need reserve games before being considered for the first team, while Craig Barr has started light jogging.

Bobby Barr has been ruled out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury.

Locke could face a selection dilemma up front after on-form striker Mark Stewart underwent surgery on a broken wrist on Wednesday.