Cardle open to Rovers return as contract talks loom

Raith Rovers player Joe Cardle. Pic: Jane Barlow
Raith Rovers player Joe Cardle. Pic: Jane Barlow

Joe Cardle helped Raith Rovers all but secure their place in next season’s Championship - then opened the door on a possible return to the club next season.

Cardle grabbed his eighth goal of the season in Rovers’ crucial 3-2 win over Queen of the South at Stark’s Park on Tuesday night that moved them nine points clear of danger with three games to play.

The 27-year-old winger is one of several first team stars out of contract in the summer and with Rovers now virtually safe, he hopes talks can begin soon.

“Nothing has been spoken about next season yet,” Cardle told the Press. “I think the club wanted to be secure in the division first so hopefully we’ll have more idea over the next couple of weeks of what’s going on.

“There are boys in there with families, like myself, and we want to know what’s going on next season. We’ll just play it by ear and see what happens.”

Rovers beat a number of rival Championship clubs to secure Cardle’s signature last summer, and despite an up and down campaign, he insists he has enjoyed his first full season at Raith, and would have no qualms over signing a new contract.

“I’ve had a great year here,” he said. “I was in a bad way last season with everything that went on at Dunfermline, so I can’t thank Grant Murray enough for taking me on.

“I’m just glad to be playing week in, week out, enjoying scoring goals and setting them up - there’s nothing better for me right now, although I’m open to anything.”

Having arrived from Dunfermline, Cardle has had to win over Rovers fans, and he is delighted with the rapport he has built up with supporters who used to be on the opposite side of the Fife derby.

“The fans here have been brilliant with me,” he said.

“I thought I might get a bit of stick here, because I always did when I was playing against Raith for Dunfermline. But I can’t ask for more from the fans. I was with them all last week in O’Connell’s and we had a great night together. I can’t thank them enough for the way they’ve treated me.”

Cardle is now hoping Raith can take the form they showed in Tuesday’s win into the remaining three games. “For the first 25 minutes we passed it about brilliantly - probably the best we have all season,” he said. “Now we want to finish the season on a high.”