With the Wee Team marooned in the Seaside League, Monday's pre-season game could be our only trip to Kirkcaldy this season
Pre-season friendly - Monday 10 July 2017 - Stark's Park - KO 7.45pm
Massively under-advertised, the pre-season derby between the Pars and Rovers takes place tomorrow evening with a background of fan unrest in Kirkcaldy. Rovers fans have been vocal and active in their concerns about the club being taken over by Thailand-based businessman John Sim, who is a director at the club. Raith Supporters Trust issued a statement which included these comments: “Relegation has brought additional financial pressure to the club, which was already struggling to thrive in challenging economic circumstances. We intend to play as active a role as possible in ensuring Raith Rovers navigates these challenges, and are open to discussing how best to achieve this. Supporters’ trusts will always be wary of situations where one individual can control the direction of the clubs we love; even with owners who have the best of intentions, we have seen the dangers of this model play out in front of us."
Despite this, Raith manager Barry Smith, appointed after the team's relegation under John Hughes in May, is naturally concentrating on what happens onfield. Smith recently spoke to the media about how he has dealt with the situation (see graphic below).
Raith have played 2 pre-season games so far, drawing 1-1 with Edinburgh City and winning 2-1 against Clyde. The club's main new signings this summer are the striking duo of Liam Buchanan and Greig Spence, who both played in League 1 last season for other clubs (Livingston and Alloa), with Buchanan scoring 27 goals and Spence 26.
Dunfermline's pre-season has resulted in 2 defeats, although against Premiership opposition. The core of Allan Johnston's team - Sean Murdoch, the central defence, Nat Wedderburn in midfield and Nicky Clark up front - are good enough to mount a promotion challenge, which the manager has stated is his aim this season. What the warm-up games have highlighted so far, including a third game that featured teenage and fringe players, plus trialists, at Cowdenbeath on Friday (a 3-0 defeat behind closed doors) is the lack of strength in depth in the squad. Johnston is still looking for 3 or 4 new players, which is the minimum requirement. Finances will dictate who he brings in, but there is a real need for quality additions at right back, centre midfield and in attack.
Match report/opinion with photos will be posted here around 11pm tomorrow evening.