Barry Smith has emphasised the importance of giving Raith Rovers’ long-suffering fans something to cheer for as they prepare to host Stranraer in their first home game of the League One campaign.
The Stark’s Park faithful endured a miserable year last term, crashing to relegation following the disastrous reigns of Gary Locke and John Hughes.
The killer blow to their Championship status came when they were defeated on penalties in Kirkcaldy against Brechin City to a chorus of jeers.
However, Smith has restored optimism with some astute signings, such as prolific attacking duo Greig Spence and Liam Buchanan, and a heartening Betfred Cup group phase which saw them notch wins against Buckie and Cowdenbeath.
That positivity has been reflected in season ticket sales, with the club this week announcing that they have succeeded in reaching their target of 1000.
Now, Smith insists it is time to repay the punters.
He said: “We are are home and we want to give the fans something to cheer about.
“They have been really good towards the players and have got behind them from the very start of the season.
“We won our last match at home (against Cowdenbeath) and want to give them something to shout about again. The supporters are going to be a massive part of what we want to achieve this season.
“Whether people want to call it a ‘fortress’ or not, you just need to win your home matches. It’s as simple a that.
“With players like Grant Anderson, Jamie Hamill and Ryan Wallace, Stranraer have brought good experience into their team but we need to be ready for that. We will be wary of their threat and give Stranraer every bit of respect.
“But if we show the same quality as we did in the last home game then I’m sure we can come away with three points.”
Rovers are seeking to build on their opening day draw against Alloa, which required a last-gasp equaliser from Lewis Vaughan to make it 1-1 and salvage a point.
A frustrating afternoon in Clackmannanshire also saw Raith hit the post twice.
Nevertheless, Smith believes it could prove to be a valuable result in the fullness of time.
He added: “We would obviously have liked to start the season off with three points but Alloa is a tough venue so, for as much as we are disappointed to draw, it could be a good point at the end of the season. Now we’ll look to build on that.
“We know we can play better, but we still created a lot of chances. We hit the post twice in the first-half, had a few other chances.
“In the second-half, Spency (Greig Spence) has been one-on-one with their keeper, Lewis Vaughan had a wee opportunity and Liam Buchanan has a headed chance.
“As long as we keep creating those opportunities, they will go in. I would be a lot more worried if we weren’t getting the players in the right areas.
“There are things to work on, because we know we can be better, but there are plenty of good things as well.”
Iain Davidson is suspended for this afternoon’s fixture, but Rovers have an otherwise full-strength squad to choose from.