Raith boss issues rallying call to fans ahead of top of table clash

Raith boss Barry Smith with his Ladbrokes League One Manager of the Month award for December -  credit- WALTER NEILSON
Raith boss Barry Smith with his Ladbrokes League One Manager of the Month award for December - credit- WALTER NEILSON

All roads lead to Stark’s Park on Saturday for one of the biggest games of the season as League One title rivals Raith Rovers and Ayr United go head-to-head.

Rovers manager Barry Smith is hoping supporters can turn out in numbers as his players look to continue their perfect home record as well as extend their lead at the top of the standings.

Having been eight points behind just a few weeks ago, Raith now lead second-placed Ayr by one point, following a good run of form coupled with Ayr dropping points.

And with two games in hand, a victory on Saturday would be a significant step towards achieving the club’s ‘Roaring Back’ mission.

“I think it is important that we go all out to get three points,” Smith said. “Saturday is a good game to win but nothing will be decided.

“The boys have worked really hard to get to this position and we want to continue the good home record we have as well.

“It is a collective thing. If you include the fans and the players, they are all working together to get results.

“The fans are appreciating the results we are getting and the players appreciate the support they receive from the stands.

“When you combine the two, you see a team playing with confidence and getting results.

“The fans who have been coming week in, week out have been excellent. They really get behind the team but if we had bigger numbers, then they really could have an influence on the game.

“We would like more through the gates to get right behind the team and give us that added bit to go and take three points.

“We just have to make sure we are fully focused and don’t let all the hard work go to waste.”

Raith go into the match in form having collected 12 points in 14 days over a busy festive period, using the same 11 players.

“We are in a good position but there is still a lot of hard work to go,” Smith said.

“All credit to the players who have worked hard to get us into this position.

“It is good that we are getting consistency in team selection, but it is also asking a lot of the lads who are playing week in, week out.

“When you are winning, you don’t really like making too many changes. So they have done well to get us into the position that we are in.”

On the injury front, Bobby Barr and Kevin McHattie were expected to return to full training by the end of the week.

Kyle Benedictus has also stepped up his comeback this week, and although he is still not involved in training, Smith added: “He is coming back strong.”