Raith set for changes in attack as Vaughan heads out on loan

Raith striker Lewis Vaughan has been loaned to Dumbarton until the end of the season. Pic: Michael Gillen
Raith striker Lewis Vaughan has been loaned to Dumbarton until the end of the season. Pic: Michael Gillen

Raith Rovers boss Gary Locke has promised to freshen up his attack this Saturday after running out of patience with the lack of goals in recent fixtures.

Monday’s 2-0 defeat in the New Year derby means that the Kirkcaldy side are now without a win in seven, and have scored just twice in 10 and a half hours of football.

Locke has kept faith with his first choice strikers through the recent barren run, but with new signings Ryan Hardie and Ryan Stevenson in the squad, the Rovers boss is prepared to throw one, or both of them, into his front line to face Falkirk at Stark’s Park on Saturday.

“I think we need to freshen it up a wee bit,” Locke told the Press. “That’s the reason why you have a squad of players.

“If one or two are struggling a wee bit, or lacking in confidence, then it’s up to me to try to protect them.

“Although they maybe don’t think that at the time, you’ve got to try your best to help them.

“If I don’t feel the team needs changed then I won’t change it, but I certainly feel we need more of a threat in front of goal.

“It’s not as if we’re negative in our team selection. Against Dunfermline we played with Declan, Rudi, Bobby Barr, Chris Johnston and Ross Callachan, who are all forward thinking players.

“So it’s not as if we’re defensive – it’s just unfortunate that things aren’t falling for us in front of goal.

“I’m sure that will change.”

The addition of two new strikers has resulted in Lewis Vaughan being sent out on loan to Dumbarton until the end of the season, a move the 21-year-old was keen to make after falling down the pecking order at Stark’s Park.

He has, however, signed a one year contract extension until the end of season 2017-18 and the club still hold high hopes for him.

“He’s had a hard time,” Locke said. “He’s been out for a whole season, he’s come back and started the season well, but then, like any player who’s been out for that length of time, he has hit a wee bit of a dip.

“We’ve got a few options up front and I’m of the opinion, as is Vaughan, that we want to get him playing because I think he’s got a big future ahead of him.

“At the minute he’s getting 20 minutes here or there, and it would be more beneficial if he was playing 90 minutes week in, week out.

“Ideally he’ll get out, play a few games, then hopefully come back to us, hit the ground running and be a big player for us towards the end of the season and start of next.

“I’m glad we’ve done our business right at start of the window. We worked on it all December and I’m delighted to get two in straight away and get them for the whole month of January. We’ve got tough fixtures coming up and everybody will be needed.”

Locke assured supporters that his players were hurting after the derby defeat, and that they are keen to bounce back against Falkirk on Saturday.

“We had to pick them up the day after the game,” Locke said. “Every player was hurting and we want to make amends this weekend.

“The fixtures coming up are all massive games so we’ve just got to make sure we pick ourselves up because if we win on Saturday we go fourth, and if we win the following Saturday we can go third.

“The incentive is there and hopefully we can get back to winning ways – the sooner the better.”

Defender Jean-Yves M’voto is rated doubtful after suffering an injury against Dunfermline but fellow centre-back Kyle Benedictus returns to the squad after serving a one match suspension.