Raith boss backs strikers to fire promotion push

Raith new signings (from left) Greig Spence, Euan Murray and Liam Buchanan. Credit- Fife Photo Agency
Raith new signings (from left) Greig Spence, Euan Murray and Liam Buchanan. Credit- Fife Photo Agency

Barry Smith reckons he has the strike force to fire Raith Rovers to promotion after securing the services of two proven goalscorers.

Liam Buchanan and the returning Greig Spence both signed for the club last Friday after notching 53 goals between them last season for Livingston and Alloa respectively.

And boss Smith is confident that, along with retained front men Lewis Vaughan and Jonny Court, he has the firepower at his disposal to wreak havoc on League One.

“We’ve brought in two proven goalscorers in Greig and Liam with great experience of this division and above,” he said. “We knew it was an area we had to strengthen, and we’ve tried to get the best available.

“Combine that with Jonny and Lewis and we’re hopeful that we have four good strikers who will push us towards promotion next year.”

Speculation has surrounded the future of Vaughan, who remains under contract until the end of next season, but Smith said he was unaware of any interest in the 21-year-old.

“I knew quite a lot about Lewis before coming here,” Smith said. “He went to Dumbarton on loan last year and scored goals in Championship, but he’s now back with us and is an important part of the squad. He’s under contract and we want him to keep him at Raith Rovers.

“There are also going to be opportunities for Jonny Court and it will be up to him to grasp it. He offers something different from the other strikers.”

Defender Euan Murray (23), also joined the club last Friday. He spent last season at Southport in the English National League North, having started his career at Motherwell.

Smith also confirmed that club captain Jason Thomson is expected to re-sign upon his return from holiday, while he remains on the trail of potential targets.

“We’ve got the basis of a squad. Money is tight, but we’re hopeful of adding two or three more,” he said.

“We’re quite weak on the left hand side, so we’ll be looking to bring in a couple of wide players, and a left-sided defensive player.

“I know who I want, it just might take some time to make it happen.

“We’ve also got a young left back, Euan Valentine, who did reasonably well for the U20s last season who we’d like to take a look at, and Euan Murray can play right across back four as well.”

One player Smith had spoken to, ex-Dumbarton defender Mark Docherty, signed for East Fife this week after deciding to keep his day job and remain a part-time footballer.

“We had a chat but we never offered a contract,” the Raith boss confirmed.

Smith is looking forward to meeting his players as a group for the first time when pre-season training resumes at Michael Woods Centre in Glenrothes next Thursday.

It will also be a chance to sit down and share ideas with his new coaching team, which includes Craig Easton, Kevin Cuthbert and Scott Robertson.

“The biggest part of me just wants to get back in training,” he said. “I don’t enjoy close season when it just seems like you’re always on the phone.

“I’m looking forward to getting our ideas across to the players and seeing them come to frutiion.”

Raith have arranged a pre-season friendly away to Clyde on Saturday, July 8. The match will take place at 12.30 p.m due to the restricted availability of the hosts’ stadium.

Meanwhile, last season’s on-loan striker Declan McManus has signed for Fife rivals Dunfermline Athletic.