Raith Rovers captain Kyle Benedictus says the dressing room is fully behind Lewis Vaughan following his latest injury heartbreak.
Just three games into his comeback from an eight-month lay-off, the striker is facing another lengthy period on the sidelines after rupturing the cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Forfar Athletic.
It is the third time the 23-year-old has suffered an ACL injury – he previously injured his right side in August 2015 before tearing his left in January this year.
A downbeat Benedictus said: “I know how hard he’s worked and just the thought of him going through it again kills me, because he deserves so much better.
“Raith Rovers are lucky to have him, because he would not be here if it wasn’t for his injuries. He’d be playing at such a high level.
“Until you train and play with him you don’t realise how good he actually is.
“To have the same injury again is heartbreaking, but the club have helped him through a lot before, and will do again.
“It’s about him staying strong as well, and we’ll all be strong together for him.
“It puts a dampener on Saturday’s result, but we’ll be here for him and support him.”
With the help of Vaughan’s equaliser, Raith battled back from a goal down at Station Park to beat Forfar on Saturday, Kieran MacDonald’s injury-time winner securing back-to-back away wins for the first time since the festive period in season 2017/18.
Benedictus, who will wear a splint on his hand for the next three months after snapping tendons in his pinkie in a training ground accident last week, said: “I thought the boys were different class.
“We were disappointed to lose the goal before half-time.
“Davo has held his hands up, but mistakes happen in football. It’s how you react, and pull your team mate out a hole, and we managed to do that in the second half.
“It’s a great three points because it’s not been an easy place to come for us.
“If we want to do something this year, then these last two weeks prove we’re up for it.”
After finishing a disappointing campaign in third place last term, Benedictus believes Rovers are better equipped to challenge for the title this year, particularly following the acquisition of defender Steven Anderson on a season-long loan from St Johnstone.
“I think the squad is a lot stronger,” he said. “Ando has come in and you can see he’s played in the Premiership for 10 years. He knows the game inside-out and talks a lot.
“He’s maybe taken a bit of pressure off me and Davo, as in not being the only leaders on the park.
“The manager has changed formation which has been important as well. There’s lots of formations we can play with the boys we’ve got, but the one we’re using seems to be working just now and long may it continue.”