Raith boss has faith in his strikers

Mark Stewart hits the post from six yards against Dumbarton -  Credit -  FPA -
Mark Stewart hits the post from six yards against Dumbarton - Credit - FPA -

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray is prepared to keep faith with his current strike partnership - despite their recent goal drought.

Calum Elliot last found the net in the League Cup against Forfar in July, and has not scored a league goal since December 2013, while Mark Stewart has scored four times this season but only hit the net once in the last 12 games.

While they may be struggling to find the target, Rovers have won three league games in a row since the duo were paired up front, and Murray has been pleased with their overall contribution to the team’s revival.

“All strikers want to score goals - but it’s what they do when they are not scoring goals that matters,” the Raith boss said.

“Our strikers have all had spells in and out the team but the current partnership we’ve got has done well.

“You have to look at whether they are bringing something to the team, and the skill Calum showed to set up Grant Anderson’s goal on Saturday was fantastic.

“Mark Stewart was unlucky with a few chances, but his work-rate has been excellent and he’s getting into the right areas.

“A prolific scorer is someone that every team would love to have, but if your strikers are playing well and setting up goals then you’re happy.”

Rovers’ top scorer so far this season with seven goals is midfielder Ryan Conroy, while second in the list, Christian Nade, who has five, is currently on the bench.

Murray has been sifting through the loan market for someone who can add more fire power, but he admitted that the right player has not become available.

“There’s a big chance we could go through January without adding to the squad,” he said.

“We’re happy with the squad we’ve got - it’s the one we signed at the start of the season - and we’ve added Barrie McKay.

“Adding to it is not a priority, but we’re always looking for the right players who would benefit the squad.

“If one pops up then we’ll ask the question. If the right player doesn’t turn up, then January will come and go.”

One player heading out the club on a month-long loan is goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw, who has signed for Elgin City.

Laidlaw has played 30 times for Raith but is currently third choice behind David McGurn and Kevin Cuthbert.

Rovers travel to Alloa on Saturday looking to complete four league wins in a row in the same season for the first time since the opening four games of season 2010-11.

With Falkirk and Queen of the South playing Hearts and Hibs respectively, Rovers could close to within three points of fourth place if results go their way.

“We just have to make sure we concentrate on our own game and not worry about other teams doing us favours,” Murray stressed.

“We’re delighted with the points we’ve picked up and performances we’ve put in, but it’s important we concentrate on one game at a time.

“We’ll take all the positives from the first half against Dumbarton last week - that’s how we want to start games every week.

“Our games against Alloa so far this season have been close, and teams like Hearts, Hibs and Rangers have found it tough there, so we’ll need to give it our full concentration.”

Rovers supporters will get to voice their opinions at an open general meeting next month.

The get-together with the board of directors and management team will be held in the Raith Suite, Stark’s Park on Thursday, February 12, at 7.30 p.m, and all fans are invited to attend.

Space is limited, so in order to gauge numbers, the club has asked anyone who wishes to attend to email football@raithrovers.net by January 30.

As well as approving the club accounts to June 2014, the informal meeting will also see updates given on the club’s general affairs, issues concerning the SPFL and SFA, the Fife Elite Football Academy, the Community Foundation and the Supporter Director role.

This will be followed by a question and answer session with chairman Alan Young and the board, and Grant Murray and the management team.

Meanwhile, tickets for the upcoming Scottish cup fifth round tie against Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday, February 8, are now on sale.

They can be purchased from the main office at Stark’s Park or by calling 01592 263514 (option 3).

Rovers have also announced that away support tickets for the Championship fixture against Rangers on Friday, February 20 are to be sold exclusively by the Kirkcaldy club.

Arrangements for home supporters will be announced at a later date.