Sam Stanton latest: Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray reveals good news about key midfielder who's been out since suffering knee injury in 4-4 draw against Ayr United on December 22

Seven weeks after limping off with a knee injury after just 36 minutes of a 4-4 home Scottish Championship draw with Ayr United, Raith Rovers have been handed a massive boost with the news that influential midfielder Sam Stanton is back in training and looks like being fit to face leaders Dundee United in second-placed Rovers’ next league game at Stark’s Park next Friday night.
Sam Stanton has contributed six goals and nine assists to Raith Rovers this season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)Sam Stanton has contributed six goals and nine assists to Raith Rovers this season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
Sam Stanton has contributed six goals and nine assists to Raith Rovers this season (Pic Fife Photo Agency)

Stanton’s absence has coincided with a major drop off in Raith’s form, with defeats in their last five matches in league and cups following a 2-2 league draw at Arbroath and their only win in that time – a 2-1 league success at Dunfermline Athletic on January 2.

"Sam had that injury which was really gutting for everybody because he is a big player for us,” Raith boss Ian Murray told the Fife Free Press today (Friday).

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"But Sam’s good, he’s back in full training. He trained yesterday, before a couple of days off and then we’ll be back in on Sunday.

Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray is delighted Stanton is back in the frame (Pic by Dave Johnston)Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray is delighted Stanton is back in the frame (Pic by Dave Johnston)
Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray is delighted Stanton is back in the frame (Pic by Dave Johnston)

"And the message I'm getting yesterday was that Sam’s had no reaction so he’s now back in full training.

"As long as he comes through this week then he’s definitely coming into our thoughts to play against Dundee United, 100%.

“I think Sam is right up there with being the best midfielder in the Scottish Championship. I knew Sam when he was at Hibs when he was a younger player but then I hadn’t seen him for a few years.

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"Without being disrespectful to him because it’s a compliment, he’s by far a better football player than I realised.

"And I think sometimes until you work with somebody and you see it every day then you don’t really know. But he’s excellent and I’m very, very surprised that Sam’s playing in the Championship.

"I think Sam’s good enough to play in the premier league. He’s kind of one of those midfielders who’s got a bit of everything.

"He’s very, very low maintenance, his attitude’s excellent, he just gets his head down and gets on with it.

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"He’s been absolutely immense for us. I’m delighted that we’ve got him back and also delighted that he wants to stay at Raith.”

When asked if Stanton’s absence during Raith’s recent run of five straight defeats was pivotal to these disappointments, Murray said: “You look at it and you think maybe not because one player can’t be so influential.

"But then you look on the flip side and you look at the moment that Sam went off the park against Ayr United, the amount of goals that we’ve conceded since then.

"It could just be a coincidence but it might not be.

"I think Sam brings that energy higher up the park for us. He wins the ball high up the park, he runs into the corners.

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"As a manager you look at all those different aspects of it.

"We’ll soon find out is probably the answer. I hope not because you don’t want to be relying heavily on one player but certainly if Sam comes back in and our form and results improve, then you have to look at it and think that’s maybe the case.”