There’s no panic on the streets of Raith

Joe Cardle is leaving Raith Rovers. Pic: Walter Neilson
Joe Cardle is leaving Raith Rovers. Pic: Walter Neilson

Raith Rovers have assured fans there is no need to panic despite seeing two key players leave the club this week.

John Baird and Joe Cardle both turned down offers to stay at Stark’s Park with Baird moving to Queen of the South and Cardle set to join Ross County.

With other first team regulars also stalling on contract offers, supporters are anxious to hear more positive signing news following the capture of Craig Barr from Airdrie last week.

Eric Drydsale, Rovers chief executive, insisted that plenty work is going on behind the scenes, with Premiership players among the list of manager Grant Murray’s targets.

“Premiership clubs are releasing players on a day-to-day basis at the moment, and naturally we’re keeping an eye on our targets to see how things go over the next few weeks,” Drysdale said.

“It’s that time of year when players go on holiday but there’s still four weeks until pre-season - there’s still plenty of time to build a squad.

“Our supporters don’t need to get into a panic about the situation.

“We have a few players who have re-signed and we’ve brought in Craig Barr - others are still contemplating offers.

“We’ve also got our feelers out all over the country waiting for our opportunities.”

There was some good news this week as young midfielder Ross Callachan (20) put pen to paper on a new contract - a player Grant Murray hopes can develop into a key first team regular.

“We’re delighted to get Ross back,” the manager said. “He’s one that’s came through the youth system and had good spells in the first team.

“He wants to work hard, he looks after himself, and he’s got lots of potential.

“We’re hopeful that in the near future he can push to become and out and out first team regular.”

The club also confirmed this week that Reece Donaldson, Jamie Watson, Fraser Mullen and Gordon Smith have all been released, with Donaldson expected to return to Peterhead after a successful loan spell last season.

“I spoke to Reece and he wanted regular football, week in week out, which he didn’t really get here,” Murray said.

“At his stage of career, I can understand where he’s coming from so we came to an agreement that allowed him to find another club.”

All other first team players have been offered contract extensions, with defender Paul Watson believed to be a target for rival Championship clubs.

“We’ve made Paul an offer and we’re hopeful we can tie him up,” Murray added.

“He possibly has other clubs interested, but we’re very keen to have him back at Raith.”

Murray also confirmed that he has a verbal agreement in place that should see David McGurn extend his stay at Stark’s Park into the start of next season.

“There are lots of guys on holiday right now and players are keeping things close to their chests,” he added.

“But we’re working on a few things as well, and we’re certainly looking forward to next season as much as we ever have.”

Eric Drysdale has also hit out at Queen of the South and Ross County for keeping Raith in the dark about moves for their players.

The chief exec explained: “Players cannot sign for new clubs until June 10, all they are doing at the moment is signing pre-contract agreements that are not officially recognised.

“What we did with Craig Barr is what other teams are now doing to us, but we told Airdrie what we were doing and gave them 12 hours notice before we announced anything.

“Other clubs have not been quite so courteous to us. We’re being made to look less than professional when in fact it’s the other way around.”

Drysdale added that he has noticed an increase in player’s personal demands this summer but insists the club will not be held to ransom.

“I’m noticing quite a difference from last year,” he said. “We’re having to make sure we don’t get carreid away and stick to our budget.

“We’re taking into account our projected higher attendneces next season but we’re not going over board.

“We’ve still got to run things prudently.”