Injury problems frustrate Raith boss

Lewis Toshney could be out for weeks.
Lewis Toshney could be out for weeks.

Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon admits he’s frustrated by the number of injuries his squad is carrying at the start of a new season.

New signing Lewis Toshney looks to be out for a number of weeks after limping out of Central Park on crutches after damaging ligaments in Saturday’s victory over Cowdenbeath in the Petrofac Training Cup.

Ian Black has been training with Raith

Ian Black has been training with Raith

He joins Craig Barr on the Stark’s Park treatment table and with fellow new signing Kyle Benedictus suspended for the opening league game of the season against Livingston on Saturday week, McKinnon admits he’s concerned.

“We’re minus three centre halves for the start of the season, looking ahead to the Livingston game,” he said.

“It’s an absolute headache for me just now.

“It’s just about impossible to bring someone in on a months’s loan at this time of the year. Nobody wants their player tied up for just a month and I don’t really want to go into the market and buy or bring somebody in that I don’t really need just for the short term, so it’s a wee bit naughty for me at the start of the season having these three players. It’s a real concern.”

The manager was happy to get the win on Saturday and says that his new team is starting to gel, despite the relative youth of his squad.

“It’ll take time to come together because there are a lot of new faces and we’re a very young side.

“On Saturday we had Lewis Vaughan who is 19, Wighton who’s 17, Batesy 18, Elliot Ford who came on is 19, James Craigen’s young, Ross Callaghan’s young. They’re all young boys.

“We’ve two or three experienced players, but even they’re in their mid-20s, so it’s a very young team. They’ll be inconsistent but if we keep preaching and doing the same things properly week in, week out hopefully that’ll take care of things.”

McKinnon says that his activity in the transfer market may not be over.

“We certainly need to get the age of the team down from last year but if somebody becomes available and he’s a good player and an experienced player then I’ll be very interested, so I wouldn’t rule that out.”

One player that McKinnon is keeping a close eye on is ex-Hearts and Ranger midfielder Ian Black, who is currently training with Rovers after leaving Ibrox at the end of last season.

“He’s just in training to keep fit,” McKinnon said. “He’s a very good player whose played at a very high level and he’s only 30 years of age and has a lot to offer.

“We’ll have a look at him in training and see how he is and see if he likes it here, though I’m pretty sure he’s got plenty offers.”

McKinnon is now planning for his first competitive match in charge at Stark’s Park when Raith face Albion Rovers in the first round of the League Cup on Saturday.

Lewis Vaughan will be fit to play though Mitch Megginson remains a doubt for a match the new boss is looking forward to.

He said: “Albion Rovers are obviously a decent side to get promotion to a higher division. They’ll be dangerous and they’ll be trying to cause an upset. There’s no pressure on them so we’ll need to go out there and try and maintain what we’ve been doing and we’ll be hard to beat.

“We’d have liked to have started the season with a full squad and got a good run at it because having three centre halves out is not ideal.

“We’ll just need to cope with it the best we can and go on and do our best. I’m looking forward to Saturday. It’s my first competitive game at home so it’ll be good.’’