Raith Rovers have reached an agreement with star striker Lewis Vaughan that has seen him commit his future to the club until the summer of 2019.
Vaughan is currently Scotland’s top scorer having struck 17 goals in 16 games so far this campaign, a return which is sure to attract interest from clubs in higher divisions.
With his previous deal due to run out at the end of the season, the 21-year-old would have been able to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club when the transfer window reopens in January, although Raith would still be due a development fee for the player as he is under 23.
That fee would have been decided by tribunal, however, after revealing at last week’s AGM that the club have been holding contract talks with the youngster and his agent, chairman Alan Young has now confirmed that Vaughan has signed a one-year extension.
“This is excellent news for the club and our fans,” he said.
“Lewis is thoroughly enjoying himself this season and is very happy with his own and the team’s start to the season.
“His goals have been important but the hard work, team effort and togetherness of the whole squad have been great to see.
“We have been working towards this signing for some time and I am very pleased to get everything concluded so that Lewis can concentrate on what he does best.
Convincing Vaughan to commit his future to the club is a feather in the cap for the new board, and provides a huge boost to supporters who had feared losing him either in January or at the end of the season for nothing more than a development fee.
However, Raith boss Barry Smith has been given assurances from club owner John Sim that, barring any ridiculous offers, Vaughan will not be sold in January.
Smith said: “I’m delighted that the owner has pretty much said that Lewis won’t be going in January because he’s an important member of our squad, as they all are, in trying to reach what was our target at the start of the season.”
Vaughan is clearly enjoying his football under Smith after a difficult couple of years where a serious knee injury, followed by a loan spell at Dumbarton, forced him onto the sidelines.
“He had a tough couple of years where he was injured and out of the scene, but he’s enjoying his football again and hopefully he is no rush to go anywhere,” the manager added.
“He’s scoring goals and playing in a team that’s winning. All the players have bought in to what we’re trying to do, and Lewis is one of them.”
Smith met new owner Sim for the first time prior to last week’s AGM and left the meeting feeling positive about the club’s future.
“We had a very good meeting last week and a lot of positives things come out of it,” he said.
“He’s trying to take the club forward.
“There’s different ways of doing that, and we’re in the process of getting to the combined target.
“We are going in the same direction, it’s just minor details that we’re negotiating between.”
Sim also addressed fans at last Thursday’s AGM where he confirmed the club’s intention to install an artificial surface in time for the start of next season, at an expected cost of around £500,000.
The board are currently looking at funding options for this.
Sim also gave some insight into the sale of Ross Callachan to Hearts in August, claiming the deal to be the highest amount ever paid by a Scottish club for a League One player.
It was also claimed that Raith rejected a ‘derisory’ offer from Dunfermline for Callachan in the summer.