Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray reveals positive news on Keith Watson injury front and says he'd like to sign crocked fellow defender Lee Ashcroft this summer

In a welcome piece of good news for Raith Rovers fans, manager Ian Murray has revealed that crocked defender Keith Watson is expected to return to training in the next few days.
Raith's Keith Watson hits the deck after going down injured at Arbroath (Pic by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Raith's Keith Watson hits the deck after going down injured at Arbroath (Pic by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Raith's Keith Watson hits the deck after going down injured at Arbroath (Pic by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

Watson, 34, went off with a hamstring strain after just 25 minutes of Raith's 3-2 defeat at Arbroath last Friday night, but the player is recovering well from this latest setback, having spent five months on the sidelines earlier this season after injuring his left knee in a 1-0 defeat at Airdrieonians last September.

"The situation is day to day but Keith's recovered really quickly," boss Murray told the Fife Free Press.

"We caught it quite early so we'll keep monitoring him.

Lee Ashcroft pictured on day he got injured at Ayr United (Pic Tony Fimister)Lee Ashcroft pictured on day he got injured at Ayr United (Pic Tony Fimister)
Lee Ashcroft pictured on day he got injured at Ayr United (Pic Tony Fimister)
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"He's doing some light work at the moment so it's not going to be a long absence I don't think, that's for sure.

"I'm very, very hopeful that we'll see Keith back on the training pitch in the next four to five days so I'm pretty happy with that."

While there is optimism over Watson, the same can't be said for his fellow centre-half Lee Ashcroft, with the on loan Dundee man having suffered a long term hamstring injury after lasting just 43 minutes of his Raith debut at Ayr United on February 24.

Murray said: "It's a bad one Lee's got. We kind of thought that at the time.

Ian Murray has had to cope with several injuries to defenders this season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)Ian Murray has had to cope with several injuries to defenders this season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
Ian Murray has had to cope with several injuries to defenders this season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)

"We were always hoping it wasn't going to be.

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"Lee's an experienced player so I'm really, really gutted for Lee, gutted for the boys as well because we were looking forward to having him.

"Lee has kept apologising to us and we're trying to reassure him that there was nothing he could do.

"He'd been playing for Dundee for a few games before the loan move, he'd been training well, it's just one of those unfortunate things that happens in football.

"He's obviously really, really gutted and disappointed.

"It was a good signing but you just can't legislate for that happening. To be honest, if Euan Murray had been fit for the Ayr game he probably would have started.

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"Then if Lee hadn't played then he wouldn't have been injured and he would have played against Arbroath and it probably would have been Keith that didn't play there.

"Suddenly we have our three experienced centre-halves all picking up injuries. But at least it's all at different times I guess.

"Lee will do his rehab with Dundee. Obviously he's their player so they want to take him back, so he'll be in good hands and then we'll see what happens in the summer because he's obviously a player that we do like.

"We could try and sign him in the summer. We've obviously got a lot to do before then in terms of targets, who we've got and what division we're in.

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"But he's certainly a player that if he became available, we'd like to think we have a chance of signing."

When asked if Raith could potentially sign a free agent centre-half imminently to bolster their options, Murray added: "Financially it's not a problem but it's not something we've even looked at.

"You tend to find that at this stage of the season we go with what we have.

"We've still got younger players. Dylan Corr's in there who could do with some game time, Scotty Brown can go back in at centre-back if needed.

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"The fact that Keith's injury isn't a long one, that's a bonus.

"It might have been different if we'd got to the middle of February with two long term centre-halves out then we would have looked at it.

"But we're quite comfortable because we've been here before and we'll be here again I'm sure.

"We might have to wrap Euan and Murray and Scott Brown in cotton wool!

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"We've got loads and loads of options in the forward areas but defensively we had young Adam Masson and Callum Hannah go out on loan and then a few days later we pick up injuries which isn't ideal.

"We don't have many at the back but we're happy to go to a back three or a back four.”

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