Full squad is a first for Raith

Jason Thomson and Mark Stewart launch the new Raith Rovers collector cards. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Jason Thomson and Mark Stewart launch the new Raith Rovers collector cards. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray has challenged his players to fight for the jersey as competition for places heats up.

After an injury-hit first half of the campaign, Rovers could go into Saturday’s match against Dumbarton with a clean bill of health for the first time this season.

The postponement of last Saturday’s home match against Queen of the South has allowed the sickness bug that hit the squad last week to clear up.

And with goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert back in training after shoulder surgery, Murray now has all 20 recognised first team players available for selection.

“We should have everyone available which means competition for places,” Murray told the Press. “We had a few guys struggling with a bug last week, but by Friday we had the majority of them back.

“The weather took its toll on the pitch in the end, which was frustrating because we had good momentum and wanted to keep it going.

“It’s now up to us to take it into the Dumbarton game.”

Cuthbert’s return means Murray now has three goalkeepers at his disposal including Ross Laidlaw and current number one David McGurn, who he has challenged to keep the jersey.

“Kevin is now back training and has been involved in a couple of bounce games,” Murray said. “Davie played in our last two games and kept a clean sheet in both so he will be confident about starting the next game. Davie’s got the jersey - it’s up to him to keep it.”

Raith are hopeful that the Stark’s Park pitch will be playable this Saturday after heavy rain last week forced referee Brian Colvin to call-off the visit of Queen of the South on the grounds of player safety.

Opponents Dumbarton are just two points behind the Kirkcaldy side in the Championship table, but Murray’s main focus is on catching the teams above.

“It would be a good one to win to try and put pressure on the teams above us,” he said. “Our last defeat to Dumbarton is possibly still in the back of the players’ minds because we felt aggrieved at a decision that went against us.

“We’ve got to use that on Saturday because Dumbarton had a disappointing result last week and will want to bounce back. You see it every week in this league how teams can respond to a bad result.

“We need to continue to perform as we have in recent weeks to give ourselves a chance.”

While rival clubs have been active during the January transfer window, things have been quiet at Raith and Murray does not expect any movement either in or out of the club this week.

“We’re always out at games looking at players but there’s nothing happening at all at the moment,” he stated.

Off the park, Rovers are dipping their toe into the world of football trading cards for the first time as they launch their new Raith Rovers Collector Series for 2015.

The club has produced trading cards for each player which includes a striking image of the player and space on the back for young fans to collect their autographs. They will be available to Roary Club members with each receiving a free pack of five cards for every home game they attend.

The race is on to see how many young fans can collect the full squad before the end of the season.

Roary Club members can collect their first limited edition pack at the Dumbarton game on Saturday from the Raith Supporters Trust table in the South Stand before kick off or the main office for those seated in the Main Stand.

The cards are only be available to members at the moment but children of primary age can still join the Roary Club by emailing their name, address, date of birth and parent’s name to roaryclub@raithrovers.net.

The Roary Club has proved a big success since its launch last summer with membership now approaching 350.