Raith keen to appoint the right man sooner rather than later

Stark's Park home of Raith Rovers FC
Stark's Park home of Raith Rovers FC

Raith Rovers fans will not have too long to wait to find out who will become the club’s next manager.

The board of directors started interviewing for Grant Murray’s replacement this week with a shortlist of “no more than half a dozen” candidates in contention for the coveted post.

With the majority of this season’s squad out of contract, and only a handful of players signed up for next season, the board is keen to make an appointment sooner rather than later.

Eric Drysdale, chief executive, told the Press: “We want to make sure we are as confident as we can be that we get the right person.

“We’re determined to take our time and do things properly, but at this time of year there’s a number of players out of contract so we’d obviously prefer to have someone in place sooner rather than later.”

Drysdale added that the new manager’s budget has yet to be finalised due to the uncertainty over whether Rangers will be in the Championship next season.

“We can’t finalise that yet because we don’t know who we will be playing against,” he said.

“But we’ll be continuing our policy of ensuring the long term stability of the club. We won’t jeopordise that.”

One player who won’t be part of the new manager’s plans is midfielder Liam Fox (31), who has left the club to sign for Hearts as a youth coach.

He will work at Riccarton with the club’s under 17 and under 20 squads and will register as a player in case he is needed in under 20 matches.

There was some signing news at Stark’s Park this week however as director of football Maurice Malpas and first team coach Laurie Ellis tied up four young apprentices.

Midfielder Ross Matthews (19), striker Callum Robertson (18) and defenders David Bates and Elliot Ford (both 18) have been rewarded with their first senior contracts.

“That’s a statement of intent,” said Drysdale.

“It would be unfair to ask anybody coming in to pass judgement on players they haven’t seen so Maurice and Laurie have taken that side of things forward and the board is happy to support their recommendations.

“There will be a further intake of new apprentices as well that will be announced soon.”

There was a boost for Scottish football this week with the news that Ladbrokes has agreed to sponsor the SPFL in a deal worth £2m per year, over two seasons.

Drysdale, who sits on the SPFL board that ratified the deal, added: “That’s a financial boost to the club.

“We’re delighted that a company of Ladbrokes stature has decided to support Scottish football and hope that this will lead to other sponsors coming on board as well.”

The club has also confirmed an additional preseason friendly with Europa League hopefuls Aberdeen visiting Stark’s Park on Sunday, July 12, with a 3.00 p.m kick-off.

“It’s good to get a club of Aberdeen’s stature,” Drysdale added.

“It will be a good game and a really stiff test for the new manager.”

Rovers will also face Spartans away on Tuesday, July 4 and East Fife away on Saturday, July 18.