Paul Smith is adamant Raith Rovers’ preparations for their Betfred Cup kick-off will not be affected by the hospitalisation of manager John McGlynn.
McGlynn was scheduled to undergo what has been described as a ‘routine operation’ today, ruling him out of any involvement in Rovers‘ Group A opener against neighbours East Fife.
However, the Stark’s Park boss – who it is hoped will be back for Tuesday’s trip to face old club Hearts – has been in constant communication with assistant Smith and has left instructions that will form part of the pre-match team-talk.
And, with the Kirkcaldy club forced to wait for their competitive return after almost seven months out because of the coronavirus pandemic, Smith insists everything has been building towards the Fife derby for weeks.
He said: “John and I work about a month ahead with our preparations on bits and pieces, and we’ve been gearing up all the way through pre-season for the East Fife game.
“So, nothing’s really changed from that.
“I’ve been in daily contact with John as well – I spoke to him on Friday a couple of times. So, we’ve just kept things ticking over as normal.
“We always discuss the team between ourselves anyway, with John having the final say.
“But we agreed on a team earlier in the week when we knew he was going to be in the hospital and we’ve been preparing the players for this game.
“I’ve filled in for John on a couple of occasions, when he’s been in the stand and when he left the first time to go to Hearts.
“So, it’s been fairly smooth this week. We’ll stick to the same format as we usually do.
“We always do stuff on a SMART Board before the game and the gaffer’s got his wee bits in there already. His stamp will certainly be over the team-talk.
“The most important thing is he has a quick recovery and we get him back in the dugout as quickly as possible.”
The local bragging rights were shared last term, with one victory apiece and a draw between the teams, whilst East Fife got the upper hand two seasons ago courtesy of two wins and a draw to Raith’s one victory.
Rovers have been blighted by injuries in recent weeks but have summer signing Regan Tumilty back and in line for his debut following a hamstring strain, whilst Fernandy Mendy is fit and Lewis Vaughan is back in full training and could be back in action next weekend following over a year out with knee ligament damage.
Smith added: “The pre-season games count for nothing, it all comes down to this game, our first competitive match in a long time.
“East Fife are a game ahead of us and got themselves a good win [2-0 against Cowdenbeath], and we know it will be a very difficult game.
“We had good games against them last season and I have no doubt this will be exactly the same.”