Smith keen to bring new faces to Raith

Raith boss Barry Smith in discussion with his assistants Kevin Cuthbert and Craig Easton during Saturday's win over Arbroath. Pic: Graham Black
Raith boss Barry Smith in discussion with his assistants Kevin Cuthbert and Craig Easton during Saturday's win over Arbroath. Pic: Graham Black
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Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith would like to strengthen his squad when the transfer window reopens on Monday – if finances allow.

Smith has held talks with clubs in higher divisions over potential loan targets but the Press understands that the deals hinge on the Raith board agreeing a January transfer budget.

With his injury-hit side currently neck and neck with Ayr United in the League One title race, fresh additions would certainly be a welcome boost.

“We’ve got targets there and we know who we want,” Smith said.

“Any players that come in will have to better than the ones that are here.

“It’s a case of helping the guys out in the dressing room because they’ve had to knuckle down.

“Guys have been playing through injury, when if we had a stronger squad we might have been able to rest them.”

Smith praised his players’ work ethic after Rovers managed to win three of their last four league games despite carrying a number of injuries.

“I say often that our belief in the players never changes because they’ve been excellent since I came in,” he said.

“There is going to be ups and downs, we’ve had a lot of injuries, I can’t really fault them for their work rate.

“We always want to be better, and that won’t change, but when you’re winning games there’s confidence there, and that’s us now won three out of the last four.”

Raith welcome Stranraer to Stark’s Park on Saturday in the final game of 2017 looking to continue a 100 per cent home record in League One this season.

“They’ve got good experience, good players and a goal threat,” Smith said.

“But we always say if we’re on top of our game then, when we’re at home, we should be looking to extend our excellent record.”

Rovers then open the new year with a derby fixture in Methil on Tuesday against an East Fife side who have slipped down the table in recent weeks.

“We had a great result through there at the start of season but the team has changed quite a bit since then with injuries and guys moving on,” Smith said.

“We had another good result against them here at home, albeit we only had one shot on goal.

“Defensively we have to be sound against them and make sure we’re compact and doing the right things.

“If we move the ball quickly, which we did in the previous game at New Bayview, then we’ll cause them problems.”

Raith will still be without injured trio Kyle Benedictus, Kevin McHattie and John Herron while Bobby Barr is still nursing a groin problem and is likely to remain on the bench.

Benedictus was due to see a specialist yesterday (Wednesday) to receive the all-clear to return to full training while McHattie and Herron are both improving, but not yet ready to return.