Raith squad to have ‘strength in depth’

David McGurn has signed a new contract with Rovers
David McGurn has signed a new contract with Rovers

Raith Rovers are expecting to field a competitive team in next season’s high-profile Championship by providing the manager with greater resources, the club has said.

Much of the blame for last season’s slump in form has been attributed to the lack of cover in the squad for key injuries and suspensions, with teenage apprentices regularly required to fill up the bench.

The club has vowed that this will not be the case next season, with ‘strength in depth’ the key message coming out of Stark’s Park this summer, although Grant Murray has stressed the need for quality over quantity.

“We’ve got to have a bit of both, we want to be able to handle injuries, but we won’t just sign numbers for the sake of it,” the manager said.

“I’d love to have as many as possible to choose from, but it’s difficult to say at this stage what size the squad will be.

“We’ve signed a couple of good players already, and we’re trying to get a few more. A lot depends on who signs.”

Eric Drysdale, Rovers’ chief executive, added: “We recognise that most of the problems in the second half of last season were due to the fact we didn’t have enough strength in depth, and we’re not going to make that mistake again.

“We are making sure we have options in all departments and cover for injuries, but there’s no point bringing in players to make up numbers.

“They need to be up to required standard as we will be tested strongly next season given the standard of opposition.

“We want to make sure that we won’t be lacking in terms of the number of players at the manager’s disposal.”

Rovers added to their squad this week with a move for freed Livingston midfielder Martin Scott (28) - a player who commanded an £100,000 transfer fee in a move from Ross County to Hibs just three years ago.

Highly-regarded defender Craig Barr has also joined from Airdrie, and Drysdale said that fans can expect more signings of a similar standard in the coming days.

“We are hopeful of agreeing deals with our top targets and they are good players - you’ve seen the quality we’ve already brought in,” he stated.

“We are very much wanting to make sure we have the right quality of player so that if we do suffer from injuries to key players we have someone of the required standard to step in.

“We also want competition for places because we don’t want players to think they are an automatic selection - the fact is, nobody is.”

Manager Murray was delighted to acquire Martin Scott this week, saying: “Martin has played at a good level and brings great experience.

“He’s at a good age, but first and foremost, he’s a very good player.

“He’s been at Hibs and has played against the likes of Rangers and Hearts so he’s a good addition.

“Most people recognise him as a centre-midfielder, but I played against him when I was right-back and he was left midfield.

“He can adapt his game to different positions and he’s a very fit lad as well.”

Rovers squad was boosted further with the re-signings of Dougie Hill and David McGurn last week, although offers made to Greig Spence and Grant Anderson have yet to be accepted.

“Dougie was a big part of the squad last season and played in most of our games,” Murray said.

“We stressed to him that he had to keep his fitness up because the majority of the squad are full-time. To his credit that he did that and didn’t look out of place.”

“Davie missed a chunk of last season but was in great form before his injury. He’s working with the physios at the moment and we’re hopeful he will be ready to start training from the first day of pre-season.”

Rovers also confirmed that the proposed friendly with Middlesbrough for winning the Ramsdens Cup will not be taking place.

The club is also on the look-out for a new chartered physiotherapist. Anyone interested contact the Stark’s Park office on (01592) 263514.