RELISHING THE ROVERS RETURN

Gary Locke, centre, hopes his Raith troops can extend their unbeaten run (picture by Ian Rutherford)
Gary Locke, centre, hopes his Raith troops can extend their unbeaten run (picture by Ian Rutherford)

The chance of a return to match action is the most attractive prospect facing the Raith Rovers squad this weekend.

Gary Locke and his players are hopefully near the end of a three-week lay-off which has left them a little frustrated and starved of activity.

Unbeaten in six matches, they head to St Mirren on Saturday, where the recognition of how difficult the task will be is tempered by the relief and eagernress to get back out on the field.

Rovers were on the shelf again last Saturday, with scheduled opponents Morton playing Beith in the Scottish Cup, so the Lang Toun players had a training session and played a closed-door game among themselves.

“Saturday’s exercise was really useful – it gave the chance for a couple of boys who’ve not really been playing as much recently to get a full 90 minutes, and gave myself and Darren (Jackson) the chance to look at them as well,” said manager Locke. “In an ideal world, you want to be playing – you don’t want to get to this stage of the season and not have a game for as long as we have.

“But there’s no point in me moaning about it – we are just looking forward to the big games coming up.”

Raith hadn’t played since the 1-1 draw with Ayr United on November 22 – but everyone was keen to get back into action. After St Mirren on Saturday, it’s Dundee United at home on December 17.

The extra time has also allowed Raith the chance to watch St Mirren in action, with Locke and Jackson taking in their last couple of games.

“They had a good result on Tuesday night (a 3-2 win at Queen of the South) so they will be high in confidence,” said Locke. “It’s always a difficult place to go, so we’ll have to be on our toes.”

Locke added it would be great for Rovers’ followers to experience some football action, as well as the players.

“The fans will have been traipsing round the shops instead of being at the match, so it will be great for the supporters to get to a game,” he quipped.

Rovers were taking a fairly confident approach and looking to preserve their undefeated sequence, added Locke.

“We’ve been a bit disappointed with the last couple of performances but we have been picking up results,” he said. “That’s the sign of a decent team, if you can get results without maybe playing as well as you normally do. We are looking to try and keep the run going. The league is very tight, so if we can win, we can move up a couple of places.”

Locke added: “I am looking forward to getting some of the experienced lads back in among the squad, as we have a really young side and we have missed the experienced boys, so I’ll be grateful to get some of them them back. We have some great experienced players at the club – it’s just a pity we’ve not been able to get them on the pitch.”

Kyle Benedictus is suspended and Scott Robertson is still out injured – while Bobby Barr, Jason Thomson and Craig Barr are progressing steadily in training.

In the Roary Super Lotto, this week’s numbers were 16, 24, 25 and 30. Jackpot £15,000; no winners. Four runners-up receive £62.50 and next week’s jackpot is drawn on Wednesday at the Burns Tavern.