Injury curse strikes again as Raith Rovers lose both first-choice centre-backs

Kyle Benedictus (left) and Iain Davidson are both ruled out through injury.
Kyle Benedictus (left) and Iain Davidson are both ruled out through injury.

Raith Rovers are facing a selection dilemma in defence after losing both first-choice centre-backs to injury.

Iain Davidson and Kyle Benedictus were both forced off the park during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to league leaders Arbroath at Stark's Park.

Davidson has a back problem which forced him off at half-time, and is likely to rule him out of the home fixture against Montrose this Saturday, but Benedictus faces a longer spell on the sidelines after suffering a potentially serious knee injury in the final minute of the match.

The club captain has been told he will need to see a specialist and his knee is to be put in a brace.

Rovers manager John McGlynn explained: "Davo jarred his back against Hibs and was visiting a chiropractor last week to try and get over it.

"He did the warm-up on Thursday, then trained on Friday with no real problems, but come half-time on Saturday he was struggling with it.

"He was going to play on, but just before the teams went back out he felt he couldn't give it his best shot, so we had to make a late change.

"We don't know the extent of that, or how long he's going to be out.

"This week will probably come too soon, but he's attending the chiropractor who is trying to help him regain fitness.

"With regards Kyle, we're just awaiting the results of the scan, but it looks like a serious knee injury."

McGlynn now faces a decision over who to play in central defence on Saturday, with Euan Murray, Nat Wedderburn and Dave McKay all in contention.

The double blow is the latest setback for a club that has been severely blighted by injuries this season with star forward Lewis Vaughan, having missed most of the first half of the campaign, now ruled out until October with a ruptured cruciate ligament.

Fellow striker Chris Duggan has also had a injury-hit season and is again on the sidelines with an abdominal problem that will keep him out for a number of weeks.

Rovers were also forced to send Regan Hendry back to Celtic after the on-loan midfielder picked up a season-ending knee injury, while midfielder Grant Gillespie missed McGlynn's first two months in charge.

With several other injuries, Raith have only enjoyed the luxury of a full squad for one match this season - a situation McGlynn believes is partly to blame for the club's failure to keep pace with runaway league leaders Arbroath.

"Arbroath could have went with a squad of 14 because they've only played that amount of players, virtually all season," he said.

"They don't have a big squad, but they haven't needed one because they haven't had injuries.

"If we had a squad of 14 there would have been days when we started games with eight players.

"We've got a big squad, and a strong squad, but it's been tested to the limit because of the injuries we had when we came in.

"You get over the injury situation for a week or two, then you get more. It maybe sounds like a sympathy vote, but facts are facts.

"The bookies favourites to win the league at the start of the season were Dumbarton, based on the fact they had good players and came straight down from Championship.

"But they've had injuries that have made them be at bottom of table all season. They've struggled and we've managed to hang in there with all these injuries.

"I said I felt we'd have a really good second half of season based on getting the likes of Lewis Vaughan and Regan Hendry back, and at the time we still had Dan Armstrong, but the injuries are making it very difficult to achieve that.

"Players like that are irreplaceable. Most managers come in after the game and say Lewis Vaughan is the best player in the league.

"You can't take that quality out of the team and replace it like-for-like.

"Now with our central defenders looking like they'll be out for a while, we're really chapping, but that's the situation we need to deal with."