Forward plans in place to meet SPL criteria

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RAITH Rovers are making forward plans for possible life in the Premier League next season.

After narrowly surviving relegation last season, Rovers have been the First Division’s surprise package this term, and currently lead title favourites Dunfermline at the top of the table by three points with 13 games remaining.

For manager John McGlynn and his players any talk of bringing SPL football to Kirkcaldy would be considered jumping the gun, but club chairman Dave Somerville insists contingency plans must be put in place behind the scenes – just incase the dream scenario unfolds.

“The club is in the process of trying to look at SPL criteria,” Somerville told SportsPress.

“The last thing the board want to do is tempt fate, but we can’t wait until the first week in May and suddenly realise that we could be in the Premier League next season.

“There is some planning going on at the moment, and one of the main things we’re looking at is undersoil heating and how we go about putting it in.

“If it’s a criteria of the SPL then we will try our utmost to meet it, but personally I’m not totally convinced by it given that the pitch can be playable yet the condition of surrounding areas could still result in a match being postponed.

“I also believe there’s some connection between the poor state of most Premier League pitches and their undersoil heating systems.”

As well as the major task of installing undersoil heating pipes beneath the pitch, other areas of Stark’s Park must also be brought up to SPL standards in the event of winning promotion.

“The stadium is not far away from meeting SPL criteria – but some upgrading needs to take place,” Somerville added.

“We need to have better press facilities and there’s some aspects of CCTV that also need looked at.

“Certain upgrades are essential while others are desirable, such as bringing the Railway Stand back into use as both as a modern-day hospitality and seating area, although at present there is no financial mechanism in place to allow us to do that.”

There is also the small matter of the manager’s budget for players next season, with cuts likely if the club does not win the title.

“We’ve had discussions with John about next season but at the moment we don’t know what league we’ll be in, or what teams will be in the same league as us,” he said.

“It’s very difficult for the board and John to be specific in our forward planning because there’s so many different scenarios that could affect the finances of the club.”

MATTHEW ELDER