“It won’t be a thing of beauty” - Raith Rovers prepared for tough shift in Stranraer
Raith Rovers can cement their place at the top of League One today by avoiding a slip-up against bottom of the table Stranraer.
Second-placed Falkirk entertain Hearts in the Scottish Cup, allowing Rovers the chance to extend their lead to six points if they can win at Stair Park - something the Bairns failed to do last weekend after being held to a 1-1 draw.
It is an opportunity for John McGlynn and his players to grasp, but they will not find it easy against a Blues side on a four-game unbeaten run, while conditions will be difficult with a Met Office warning in place for strong winds.
“It’s one of 14 opportunities we’ve got left to go and try and do it, but we can’t be under any illusions over how difficult it is going to be,” stressed McGlynn.
“They’ve just drawn with Falkirk and Airdrie, we’ve been beaten down there already, and the park at this time of the season is not going to be great.
“I don’t think they game will be a thing of beauty, it will be a matter of rolling the sleeves up and working our socks off to get the win.
“I don’t think it will matter what the performance looks like as long as we come back up the road with three points.”
Rovers go into the match with a squad of 20 players to choose from - a luxury McGlynn has rarely throughout an injury-hit season, not to mention several suspensions
“Saturday was the first time in the whole season that we actually had two players in the stand who were fit - Fernandy Mendy and Jack Smith,” he said.
“The squad is now as strong as it has been all season, and it’s a great time to get everyone back. We can only hope and keep our fingers crossed we don’t pick up any more injuries.”
McGlynn confirmed that defender Steven Anderson’s loan from St Johnstone has been terminated due to injury, freeing up the possibility of another loan signing during February, with the other slot being kept free for the possible return of Jamie Gullan from Hibs.
“We haven’t had any encouragement from Hibs but that’s not to suggest it can’t change,” McGlynn said.
“We’re quite comfortable with the squad we’ve got, but if we still felt there was something we could do to really turn the screw and give us added edge, we have the potential to do that.”
McGlynn also confirmed that the sale of Kieron Bowie has been agreed, with the 17-year-old set to become a Fulham player on July 1.
Rovers stand to pocket £150,000 in an initial transfer fee, with potentially lucrative financial benefits in the future if Bowie proves successful
“It’s Roy of the Rovers stuff and I’m delighted for him,” McGlynn said.
“From 18 months ago just getting a game for our reserves out the blue, and the progression since them has accelerated way beyond what I thought.
“Hopefully he can continue to develop because if he does there are great spin offs for the football club.
“There’s a good sell-on percentage and financial targets if he was to make ‘x’ amount of first team appearances. It could end up being a vast sum of money if he’s successful.
“I know that his attitude, work-rate and enthusiasm will never let him down so hopefully he can go on to have a great end of season with us, and then have a bright future down there.”