We’ll keep fighting through our injuries

Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon
Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon

Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon has praised his players for their resolve as they continue their push for the play-offs with an injury-hit squad.

Rovers win at Cappielow last Friday ended a run of seven league games without victory, and took them back into the top four, despite a crippling injury list.

Club physio Stuart Law handed McKinnon a note of the injuries this week which showed that only four players in the entire squad are deemed fully fit.

Raith’s entire defence - including goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert who has a broken finger - are currently nursing injuries but McKinnon says his players will continue to fight through it in the upcoming Boxing Day clash at home to Alloa.

“It’s not a great situation but we’ll focus on what we’ve got - and that’s a team that should go out there and be competitive and give it everything they’ve got,” he said.

“Looking at the list from the physio, most of them are playing with niggles right now, and they have to because there’s nothing behind them to be able to rest them.

“A lot of them are playing through things which is great credit to their character. I’ve been super-impressed with them. It’s been a tough month injury-wise and we’ve come through it undefeated.

“I know we’ve had a couple of kicks from Dumbarton and St Mirren, but hopefully Friday night’s result picks everyone back up.”

McKinnon is hopeful that his players can maintain their form, but admits it won’t be easy.

“When you’re struggling with injuries it puts a lot of pressure on the players week in, week out,” he said. “It’s important we try to get some people back fit so we can lighten the load on some players and maybe rotate the squad a bit.

“It’s just about impossible for someone to play 40-odd games a season and be at their best in every one. Ideally we’d like to have people back and flying, and we’ll probably get that around February-March time when guys like Lewis Vaughan hopefully come back.

“It’s just a case of rolling up the sleeves and getting on with it.”

Alloa are four points adrift at the foot of the Championship but McKinnon expects a difficult match against a side looking to impress new manager Jack Ross. “Saturday will be a tough game against a team with a new manager but it’s important we follow up our victory last Friday and finish the year on a high,” the Raith boss added.