Raith Rovers bid to strengthen central defence with new signings

Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray hopes to bring in two new centre-halves over the next few days to allow his side to cope better with the “rough and tumble” of the Scottish Championship.
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Rovers – who have added 6ft 4’ goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski this summer and also acquired 19-year-old centre back Dylan Corr from Celtic ‘B’ – want to add more physicality and experience to their rearguard to try and avoid a repeat of last season when multiple goals were conceded following opposition free-kicks and corners.

"We are definitely looking for two centre backs," Murray told the Fife Free Press. "Hopefully we'll have news in the next three or four days.

"Be that good news or bad news, we're not quite sure yet.

Ian Murray is very keen to add experience and physicality to Raith's backline (Library pic by Craig Brown/SNS Group)Ian Murray is very keen to add experience and physicality to Raith's backline (Library pic by Craig Brown/SNS Group)
Ian Murray is very keen to add experience and physicality to Raith's backline (Library pic by Craig Brown/SNS Group)
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"We need to strengthen that area and get a bit of cover in there as well.

"Half the goals we lost last season came from setplays. That's an incredible amount for any team at any level.

"It shouldn't happen but it did. It's definitely an area that we have to improve in. Obviously we have a big bit of height with our new goalkeeper.

"If we can bring in two solid centre halves - they don't have to be fancy, they don't have to be fashionable - they just need to be good defenders, be able to organise and make sure other players around them are organising as well, leading by example.

"That's the road we're going down at the moment.

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"It's very important to have two dominant centre halves in the rough and tumble of the Scottish Championship, especially away from home when you're going down to really tough venues.

"I think if you look around the leagues and look at the teams that do well, their centre halves are normally big rough and ready types.

"They don't have to be the most fantastic and gifted footballers because they're there to do a job which is to stop the ball going in the net.

"Certainly in this league it's a very physical challenge for everybody and to try and get two solid types in there would be great for us."

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Meanwhile, Murray has given his reaction to former Raith stalwarts Tom Lang and Brad Spencer this week joining League One outfit Falkirk to team up once again with their former Stark’s Park gaffer John McGkynn.

The boss added: "I think Falkirk are gaining two really good players.

“They are two really good guys and two really good professionals.

"They obviously know Paul (Falkirk assistant manager Paul Smith) and John very well. I think certainly for League One that's really enhanced their squad.

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"It just wasn't to be for us in terms of them being here this season and that's football.

"We wish them all the best. They've been really good servants to the club and I hope they go and do well.

"What we chat about with these guys remains private. We always felt we were going to try and improve the squad, they have to look at a big picture.

"We know both players were extremely popular with the supporters, but we also want to try to develop our own squad.

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"There's no question about it, they would have been part of our plans going forward but I think they would have found it harder to be in the starting 11 and they wanted to play.

"They've got that opportunity now at Falkirk so I'm really happy they've got something sorted out really early. It doesn't surprise me because they are good players."

Murray said that the second week of pre-season training – mercifully taking place in slightly less hot temperatures than week one – had been going according to plan.

"Training's been really good," he added. "You always get a couple of wee niggles pre-season but nothing major which is really, really good.

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"The boys have worked incredibly hard to get back in and look a bit further on from where they were last season which is great.

"And obviously with the heat going away this week, I think we needed a wee break out on that pitch because it was getting really, really warm.”

The Raith gaffer also revealed that upgrade work on the new dressing rooms at Stark Park has been progressing well.

"I think we are going into the new dressing rooms on Wednesday or Thursday of next week,” he said.

"I had a wee look in on Tuesday and they looked really, really good. The boys that have been doing the dressing rooms have been working incredibly hard to get them ready.”