Raith boss eyeing new faces ahead of preseason training

Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke
Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke
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Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke is hopeful of adding to his squad before the start of preseason training on Monday.

Following the arrival of wingers Bobby Barr and Chris Johnston, the Raith boss hopes to have at least one, possibly two more targets tied down ahead of his first training session at the Michael Woods Centre in Glenrothes.

“Preparations are going well and everything is moving in the right direction,” Locke told the Press.

“I’ve been out of the game since January so I’m looking forward to starting training with the lads.

“We’ll hopefully be able to add another couple of faces before we start on Monday, but the most important thing is to have the squad in place in time for the first game on July 17.”

Locke admitted that signing talks have proved challenging as he tries to entice players to the club for less money than they could potentially earn elsewhere.

“At this time of year agents and players are holding off to see if something better comes along,” he said.

“Most of the players we’re speaking to have about five or six clubs after them.

“We need to try to sell the club to them because we haven’t got as much money as one or two others.

“Hopefully the players want to play for you and for a club that will give them regular football.

“We’re looking at youngsters from bigger clubs who are maybe not getting as much game time as they should be, and we can give them that.”

The Press understands that Kilmarnock left back Kevin McHattie is one of the players Locke is interested in bringing to Stark’s Park, with the defender trying to negotiate a release from his contract at Rugby Park, which still has two years left to run.

David Templeton was another player linked with a move to Raith this week.

The 27-year-old winger is a free agent following his release from Rangers although he has not played a first team match since last August due to a serious knee injury.

Locke added: “I worked with Temps at Hearts and know him well.

“He went to Rangers and had a difficult time last year with a knee problem.

“He’s still injured so we’re not going to sign him if we can’t put him on the park.

“However, he’s someone I loved working with at Hearts - he was sensational in the games against Liverpool.

“He’s got quality so if he’s fully fit and available he’s certainly not someone I would turn away.”

Templeton spent six months on loan at Raith under John McGlynn in the old Second Division in season 2007-08.

Locke also confirmed that former Dundee United striker Jordan Moore (22), who overcame skin cancer in 2014, will also join up with the club for preseason training.

“We’ve offered him facilities to come and get fit,” he said.

“He’s a young lad who has had a difficult time but has done brilliantly well to battle back from cancer.

“We’re not in a position to sign him at the moment so if another club shows interest he may go elsewhere.”

Raith’s first preseason fixture is on Tuesday, June 28 away to Forfar Athletic. Kick-off 7.45pm.

The SPFL league fixtures for the 2016-17 season are released at 9am tomorrow (Friday).