Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray hopes the effects of a sickness bug will not scupper his side’s chances of building more momentum in the Championship after back-to-back wins.
The Kirkcaldy club are full of confidence heading into tomorrow’s home game against promotion rivals Queen of the South following away victories over Falkirk and Cowdenbeath, but illness has so far disrupted Rovers’ preparations.
No fewer than five players Ross Callachan, Lewis Vaughan, Kevin Moon, Christian Nade and Barrie McKay have been struck down over the last few days, with Moon and Vaughan in particular unable to train yesterday as a result.
On loan Rangers winger McKay only returned to training yesterday after missing Saturday’s Fife derby, so Murray admits things have not been ideal.
“It’s a bit difficult just now because we’ve had a few boys off this week with flu, sickness and diarrhoea,” he admitted.
“It’s just something that’s been easily picked up at a football club and could stretch us come the weekend, but we’ll weigh it up and we’ve just got to adapt.
“It’s not something you can easily plan for, because if you look at Saturday we had everyone available apart from Barrie.
“He was the only one that went down with it, but come Tuesday we had five players missing, so it is difficult.
“But it’s just one of these things and we have to get on with it.”
Murray confirmed yesterday that he is still keen to strengthen his squad if possible, but described rumours linking Rovers with a loan move for 18-year-old Hamilton attacker Eamonn Brophy as mere speculation.
The Rovers boss was in the crowd to watch Accies’ second string beat Dunfermline in midweek, but Murray told Courier Sport yesterday: “Just now I’m going through January with the squad I’ve got.
“We don’t stop looking at games and players and seeing who is available.
“You never stop taking e-mails or phone calls from people trying to get players to your club, but it’s got to be right for me and right for the football club.
“I like going to Under 20s games to see who is playing and who’s doing well.
“But I’m looking to strengthen in every area if possible, you never stop.
“At the end of the day, you look at players, see who’s available and go and take games in.
“Hamilton had another 10 players playing that night so it’s a wee bit disrespectful to them if we’re only through looking at one player, while Dunfermline didn’t have a bad team out that night as well.”
One player who has left this week is former Rangers defender Ross Perry, after Rovers decided against renewing the centre half’s contract.
“I thought Ross came in and did what he was asked to do,” Murray added.
“We had two centre halves out injured in August ready to start the season, so we were short and went into a pre-season game with young David Bates.
“It was obviously great experience for David but when it came to the campaign and league games and cup ties, I felt the injuries definitely left us short.
“We brought Ross in on a short-term deal because he was available and ready to play, but we’ve now got everyone back and we just felt that the squad we had signed before Ross came in was available.
“It probably doesn’t free up any money because it was over and above what we had, but I was grateful to Turnbull Hutton (former chairman) who was able to give me something extra at the start of the season and get someone in short-term.”
Sixth-placed Rovers are currently eight points behind Queen of the South in the table, so a win could haul the Kirkcaldy club back into the promotion mix.
But Murray concluded: “We want to build on what we’ve done in the last two weeks but you can’t take anything for granted.
“It doesn’t just come easy or naturally because you’ve won the previous two away games.
“It’ll be a very hard game and Queen of the South are sitting where they are for a reason.”