BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
High-flying Raith Rovers have been handed a huge boost after long-term absentee Craig Barr returned to training.
The former Gretna, Queen of the South and Livingston defender has suffered a nightmare with injuries since joining the Kirkcaldy club last summer.
The 28-year-old only managed 13 appearances last season after missing the first six months of the campaign following surgery to remove fragments of bone from his knee.
Having then penned a 12-month extension to his contract in April, the one-time Blackburn Rovers trainee was ruled out of the start of this season with osteitis pubis.
The painful pelvic problem has kept him out of action as the Stark’s Park side have shot their way to second in the Championship at the end of the first quarter.
However, manager Ray McKinnon is hopeful ‘Mango’ is nearing a top-team comeback after another frustrating spell on the sidelines.
He said: “Mango’s back in full training, and is looking good, which is great.
“The defence has done really well so far this season but having him available again will increase our options at the back.
“Competition for places is always welcome.”
Meanwhile, McKinnon admits his side have outstripped expectations following his arrival as successor to Grant Murray in the summer.
The former Dundee Untied and Aberdeen midfielder has rebuilt the squad he inherited and has led the Fifers to five home wins to equal an 82-year-old record for a new Rovers manager.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s trip to face Alloa Athletic, he added: “We’ve probably exceeded where we thought we would be at this minute. We’ve got a lot of new players and a lot of young players.
“Obviously, if we could have the same success in the second quarter we would be delighted. But it’ll be tough, it’s a competitive league.
“We’ve done okay. If we can get everybody fit then we’re okay, we’re quite a strong side.
“Hopefully we can just kick on and keep playing well, and keep picking up points.”