Raith boss Barry Smith admits he will have to “look at the bigger picture” before considering his team selection for Saturday’s Irn-Bru Cup tie at St Mirren.
Rovers currently have five first-team players suffering from injuries – goalie Aaron Lennox, defenders Kyle Benedictus, Kevin McHattie and Iain Davidson along with midfielder Scott Robertson – with the squad down to the bare bones.
Smith obviously hopes to progress in the cup but it will not be at the expense of the club’s No.1 priority this season – winning promotion to the Championship.
The Stark’s Park boss said: “Aaron is doing very well and we are a lot more positive about him.
“He is back handling and running. We won’t put a time limit on it as we will not find out until he starts kicking the ball how long he will be.
“Kevin has started running again so his timescale is going to plan. He is still a good couple of weeks away, though.
“Kyle is coming along as well but he still has to get an X-ray to ensure his leg has healed.
“However, Scott has a back problem so won’t play at the weekend while Iain is also struggling.”
Smith added: “The cup game is different for me.
“We want to get through but we are building up to the next league game with Arbroath.
“Looking at the bigger picture, the league is the priority this season.
“We will put out the strongest team we can against St Mirren but we have to protect ourselves because we have so many injuries.
“It is a game where all the pressure is on them. They are sitting top of the Championship so we have nothing to lose.
“When it comes down to it, they are the ones expected to win because they are top of the Championship.
“We want to give a good account of ourselves but given the injury situation, it will be a very difficult game.”
Raith’s 11-match unbeaten run came to an end at the weekend when they were defeated by Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill.
Smith admits painful lessons have been taken on board but he insists that overall, it has been a good start to the season for his side.
He said: “We have lost one game in 12. Everybody is disappointed that we got beaten on Saturday but you have to put it into the context of the overall start to the season we have had.
“We will take it on the chin but the boys have been absolutely brilliant since I came in.
“Saturday was an off day. Too many of the players had an off day but they know that themselves.
“Sometimes you learn more from a defeat like that. We include ourselves (coaching staff) in that.
“We have learned a lot and now it is about making sure we are right for the Arbroath game.”