Now the real action starts
GRANT Murray will look to continue his winning start as Raith Rovers manager when the league campaign gets under way this Saturday.
Murray has started his managerial career with back-to-back wins over lower league opposition in the cups, but he knows his team will face a stiffer challenge against Hamilton Accies this Saturday.
However, with home advantage on his side, Murray is hoping to make it three wins out of three to set down an early marker in this season’s first division.
“You’re always happy to start the league campaign at home,” he said.
“We know it will be a tough encounter from the games we had against them last season.
“We had a good win against them at Stark’s Park, but we also went to their place and lost.
“Billy Reid is an experienced manager and we expect his team will try to get the ball down and pass it.
“We’ll be very wary of them but we’re all looking forward to it.”
It is hoped that the Sell Out Saturday campaign could swell the crowd inside Stark’s Park and Murray insists the fans can play a key role in getting his team off to a good start.
“Every fan looks forward to the start of a new league campaign and we’d love a great crowd out there on Saturday behind us,” he said.
“We want to make our home stadium a fortress for any visiting team, and the amount of fans in the place can make a difference.”
Murray has been delighted with the response he has had from Raith fans since his appointment as manager.
“The fans, from my point of view, have been fantastic,” he said.
“I’ve been here for three years as a player and I’ve been very lucky that the fans have taken to me.
“They’ve got right behind the team and me as a person.
“Long may it continue - the more fans we get the more it helps the club and the team on a Saturday.”
Murray is pleased to approach the first league game with his strikers in good scoring form.
Pat Clarke and Brian Graham have managed five goals between them in the two cup ties.
“I’m very happy with the strikers I’ve got available,” Murray said.
“At the moment I can’t ask for any more from Pat and Brian.
“We’ve got Greig Spence coming off the bench as well.
“He’s lively and a great finisher but he has to be patient because the guys who have the jerseys just now are banging the goals in - and you can’t argue with that.
“Yes we need our strikers to play well in the games but it’s goals you want - that’s what they’re judged on.
“It’s great to have our two strikers going into league with competitive goals under their belts.”
On the flip side, Raith conceded six goals in their two cup ties to lower league opponents, leaving Murray plenty to work on.
“If we get clean sheets we’ll win games,” he said. “It’s an old cliché but it’s something you’ve got to look to do in every game.
“’We’ll certainly want to tighten up from Saturday. We’re no different from any other team in that if we lose goals we’ll want to work to eradicate it.”
Murray is likely to have a full squad to choose with the only injury doubt surrounding his own fitness.
The player-boss underwent a minor knee operation in the summer and opted to miss the match against Berwick on the advice of the club physio.
“Hopefully I’ll be fit and available for selection this Saturday,” he said.
“The operation happened during the summer so preseason was interrupted a bit.
“I’ve got myself back fit and got involved in some games, but there was a slight strain on Saturday that the physio didn’t think was worth risking.”
After Saturday’s league opener, Raith are straight back into action on Tuesday as Montrose visit Stark’s Park in the Ramsdens Cup second round.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Kirkcaldy
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 30 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: East