Rovers look to make it three wins in a row with trip to Dundee

Manny Duku celebrates scoring against Queen of the South. (Photo: Colin Johnstone)Manny Duku celebrates scoring against Queen of the South. (Photo: Colin Johnstone)
Manny Duku celebrates scoring against Queen of the South. (Photo: Colin Johnstone)
Raith Rovers assistant boss Paul Smith says none of the three players injured during Saturday’s win over Queen of the South have suffered any serious setbacks.

Ethan Ross, Kieran MacDonald and captain Kyle Benedictus all limped out of Palmerston Park after the 5-2 win, with Aberdeen loanee Ross later seen on crutches.

Happily, though, none of them will be added to the lengthy list of injured players that the club has had to do without over the past two seasons.

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Smith said: “Ethan was X-rayed on Sunday morning in Aberdeen and the good news is that there was no break. He was then assessed by the Aberdeen medical team on Monday and there is no ligament damage either.

"My first fear was that it was going to be a five or six-week injury. When he came off, the swelling around his ankle was unbelievable.

"Hopefully, he will train with us today with a view to him playing on Saturday. If not, we're fairly positive he'll make the next weekend.

"Benedictus got a dead leg and didn't train on Monday, but we're hopeful he can take part in some of the training this week.

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“Kieran has a very tight hamstring. I took him off at half-time on Saturday because I didn't want him to pull it, so it will probably be later on in the week that he can train.”

A notable absentee from Saturday’s squad was striker Lewis Vaughan as he battles with a hamstring problem, but Smith says his return from a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury is moving in the right direction.

“That dispersed the scar tissue lump he had and now he has two smaller lumps which are still causing him an issue, so we'll get him in for another injection on the scar tissue and hopefully that'll clear it up.

“We knew it wouldn't be a case of Lewis coming straight back in.

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"His knee needs to be as stable as it can be, but it's more the hamstring that's causing the problem, and once he's had the injection, he'll probably need to rest it for a couple of weeks.

“We’re positive about it. We've had fans asking what the problem is with him, so that's where we are.”

Another huge positive for the side is their perfect start to the season with two wins out of two.

Smith says he is delighted to have six points racked up so soon into the season.

“It's been a fantastic start,” he said.

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"Every game is difficult in the Championship, and we knew how important getting points on the board early doors was.

“We emphasised that we wanted to get a good start with three points on the board at Arbroath.

“The boys did that, then followed it up with a good performance, at times a gritty performance, to get three points away from home, and to score five goals at any time, especially away from home, is massive.

“Palmerston is always a difficult place, so we're absolutely delighted.”

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Smith now takes his team up to face Dundee with the aim of making it three wins out of three following Rovers’ return to the Championship.

“Dundee will be one of the teams you'd expect to be at the top end of the table,” he said.

“They bounced back from their 6-2 defeat to Hearts with a good win on Saturday, and we know this will be a difficult game.

“They've signed some big players like Charlie Adam. Even in the heavy defeat at Tynecastle, you could see by the goal he scored the quality he still has.

“We can't allow him to go on and dictate the game like he can do.

“Dens is never an easy place to go to, but we'll be going up there full of confidence and try to get the three points.”