We need to brush up on things and bolster the squad, admits Raith boss

Raith boss Gary Locke, assistant Darren Jackson and midfielder Iain Davidson share a laugh with referee Stephen Finnie in the midweek friendly defeat at Forfar. Pic: Chris Coutts
Raith boss Gary Locke, assistant Darren Jackson and midfielder Iain Davidson share a laugh with referee Stephen Finnie in the midweek friendly defeat at Forfar. Pic: Chris Coutts

Raith Rovers boss Gary Locke admitted that there is plenty to work on after Tuesday night’s friendly defeat away to Forfar Athletic.

A threadbare Raith squad featuring just 14 first team players and two apprentices lost 2-0 to the part-time League Two side at Station Park.

While disappointed with the result, Locke admitted afterwards that he was more concerned by the injuries picked up by Mark Stewart and Kevin McHattie.

“That’s one thing we don’t need,” the manager told the Press.

“Mark felt a wee pull on his thigh, and Kevin’s got a knock on his knee.

“Hopefully they won’t be too bad.

“We’ve only trained for a week and it’s our first game so there’s a lot of things we’ve got to brush up and work on.

“But it’s the first game so I’m certainly not going to get too down on the back of that.

“It’s important that the players all get 90 minutes, and most of them got that.

“In the second half we created a lot of chances and hit the post twice. It was better, but we’ve still got a lot to work on such as finishing, crossing and the shape of the team.

“The main thing is we’re ready to go against Cove Rangers, and we’ve got another three friendlies to get ourselves ready.”

Rovers return to Angus this Saturday for their second preseason fixture away to Brechin City and are expecting to have Craig Barr back available after his honeymoon.

However, with Scott Robertson yet to train due to an infection, and Lewis Toshney transferred to Dundee United, Locke admits he needs reinforcements.

“You saw on Tuesday night how weak the squad is at the moment,” he said.

“We’re desperately trying to add some fresh faces and it’s plain to see that we need more firepower.

“It’s not easy in terms of that because every team is after the same players.

“We’re working ever so hard, and I think we’re close with a couple, but at the last minute everything can change, so until the lads have put pen to paper we’ll have to wait and see.”

Rovers are on the trail of four potential strikers with a view to bringing in at least two of them, while Locke is also keen to bring in another left sided defender to provide cover for McHattie.

Raith also currently have two youngsters on trial - Danish midfielder Andreas Thorsen and Wigan Athletic striker Sam Cosgrove, both aged 19.

A loan move could be in the offing for 6ft 3in Cosgrove, who emerged through the youth ranks at Everton before joining the Latics in 2013.

Despite impressing at under-21 level, he is yet to make a first-team appearance for the club.

Locke hopes to use the funds from Lewis Toshney’s transfer to Dundee United to bolster the squad.

He said: “I was disappointed to lose big Lewis. I’d spoken to him but unfortunately for me he had his heart set on leaving.

“The clubs agreed a fee and hopefully I can use that to strengthen our team.”

The Raith bench on Tuesday night featured teenage apprentices James Berry and Dave McKay, although neither were brought on.

Locke added: “The young lads that have just came in the door so it would be unfair to throw them straight into the first team, but it was a great experience for them and hopefully they’ll learn from it.”

Rovers fans intending to travel to Brechin on Saturday should note that kick-off at Glebe Park is 2.00 p.m.

The preseason preparations continue with the first and only home friendly fixture on Tuesday where Premiership side Partick Thistle provide the opposition.

Kick-off is 7.45 p.m with admission prices set at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.