Raith boss looking to win every home game

Raith manager Barry Smith
Raith manager Barry Smith

Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith has set his team a target of winning every home game in League One this season.

The Kirkcaldy men will play 18 league games at Stark’s Park this season, and Smith wants three points from every one, starting with the visit of Stranraer on Saturday.

“Stranraer have a lot of good experienced players and guys that know this division,” Smith said. “Again, it’s a difficult game, but we’ve got to look to be winning every home game.

“That’s not being disrespectful to anyone, that’s just where we think we are at the moment. We’ve got to go in with confidence that we can win all our home games.

“The away games will take care of themselves but at home we want to reward the crowd, who’ve been brilliant, and that starts on Saturday.”

Raith go into the match on the back of a tough opener in Alloa, and Smith wants his players to learn from it.

“We know we’ve got to do better but confidence is high in the dressing room and that won’t change after Saturday,” he said.

“The boys are willing to learn and they’ve come back into training this week and have been right back at it.

“Training has been very sharp, so we’re looking forward to Saturday.”

Kevin McHattie is expected to sign a contract before the weekend after featuring as a trialist in Alloa, coming off the bench at half-time.

Iain Davidson will again miss out, serving the second of his two match ban carried over from last season and, with such a tight squad, Smith will be taking a zero tolerance approach to indiscipline.

“The boys know my thoughts on yellow cards,” he said. “The thing I can’t ask them to do is not go into tackles. Sometimes there will be fouls committed that are to the benefit of our team.

“But they know that dissent towards the referee, or kicking the ball away, are needless bookings and there’s a system set in place to try and stop needless suspensions.”

Smith is hopeful of adding a loan player or two before the end of the transfer window but admitted that financing any moves could prove difficult.

“If teams are willing to give us players for nothing!” he said. “But it has to be the right players. We’ve got to do our homework and make sure they are good enough to come in and challenge for positions, because we’ve got good quality in the team.

“We’ve not got a lot of left-sided players and it’s an area I’d like to strengthen, but we’ve got guys who can play there. Ross Matthews did well there for a spell in the first half on Saturday.

“The good thing about a lot of our players is they can play a few positions, which running with a tight squad is helpful.”