Raith manager Barry Smith is relaxed ahead of this afternoon’s visit of Ayr United to Kirkcaldy, despite the fact his side face their fellow promotion hopefuls in an early season top of the table clash.
Speaking to jordanburtfootball.com in conjunction with KingdomFM on Monday at the Rovers’ training base in Glenrothes, while picking up his Manager of the Month award for August, Smith said:
“I think we have had a good start to the season, but, we want to keep progressing. Collectively; myself, the coaching staff and the players have worked hard to get ourselves into a good place at the moment. It is good to get this reward so early in the season but we also know that as a team, we want to keep progressing and that is what we will be aiming to do. We are progressing well and that is because the boys are working hard in training and working hard during games. They are taking on board what we are trying to get across to them; they are a credit to themselves that they are doing so well at the moment but we know we are only into September: there is a long way to go and we just need to keep progressing as a team.”
Looking ahead to the League One clash of the day against the Honest Men, the Rovers boss told us:
“I think it is very early in the season [to be putting a marker down with a win]. We go into every game to win and Ayr isn’t any different for us compared to if we were playing Stranraer or Forfar or anybody else in this division. We know it is going to be a tough test – we know Ayr are going to be up there come the end of the season, We have no injury worries at the moment, although tht may change come the end of the week, but as of just now [Monday afternoon] we expect a fully fit squad to choose from on Saturday.”
Also picking up an award on Monday was Lewis Vaughan, winning the League One Player of the Month trophy. Talking of his in-form striker, Smith said:
“I don’t set targets for players – players may have their own targets, but, all I ask of them is that when we do get opportunities, they take them and Lewis is a part of a frontline, at the moment, who is doing that. He is now playing in a slightly different role: it is one we feel he will get opportunities, and like I said earlier, it is brilliant he is scoring the goals, but, we can’t forget about all the other work he is doing; he is working very hard for the team and fortunately he is scoring goals as well, but, I also look at the other side of it – the ‘dirty’ side of the game if you like – where he is working equally as hard.”
With activity on Transfer Deadline Day seeing Dario Zanatta and John Herron enter the club while Captain Ross Callachan departed for Hearts, it provides the possibility that a different looking midfield may be deployed against Ian McCall’s men this afternoon.
“We know the attributes that both players have got. We know that they will both fit in well with the team, but, we also know we have guys who are playing well and boys who can come off the bench and give us a like-for-like change, so, we are really happy with the two guys that we managed to bring in. There aren’t many players like Ross in terms of, he is a box-to-box, physical, midfielder. However, John will come in and add something to the team as well, perhaps attributes that Ross didn’t have.”