BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon has expressed his delight after easing his striking problems with the loan signing of Hamilton Accies forward Louis Longridge ahead of this evening’s rearranged meeting with Alloa Athletic.
McKinnon had been desperately seeking attacking reinforcements after Dundee recently recalled Craig Wighton from his loan spell at the club and with Jon Daly playing his last game at the weekend before moving to Hearts as under-20s coach.
With Mark Stewart absent from Saturday’s Scottish Cup defeat to Hibernian through illness, and Lewis Vaughan out with a long-term knee injury, the Kirkcaldy club were in danger of facing Alloa without a recognised marksman.
However, Stewart returned to training yesterday and could now be partnered up front against the Wasps by Longridge, who is in line for his Rovers debut after making seven starts in 16 appearances for Accies this season.
McKinnon said: “We’ve brought in Louis Longridge on loan from Hamilton.
“He’s a young, quick striker and I’m looking forward to working with him between now and the end of the season.
“Hopefully he can give us something different.
“We were left a bit short up front, with Jon Daly playing his last game at the weekend and Craig Wighton going back to Dundee after his loan.
“It was an area we needed to strengthen and we wanted to get the right type in – and we’ve got somebody who’s young and fit, can run, can score goals and has good movement.
“So, we’re delighted to have Louis on board and he’ll come into the plans for the Alloa game.”
A victory for Raith would ease them five points clear in fourth in the table as they bid to land the promotion play-off place also being coveted by Queen of the South in fifth and sixth-placed Morton.
With new counterpart Jack Ross attempting to turn around fortunes at basement boys Alloa, McKinnon is fully aware Rovers will not get it all their own way tonight.
However, he is hopeful his players can shake off the disappointment of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Hibs by getting the just rewards for their display this time round.
McKinnon, who has Grant Anderson suspended, added: “I thought we played some great stuff on Saturday. For 65, 70 minutes we played really well, but we didn’t capitalise when we were on top.
“I’m disappointed to go out the cup, but again I’m really pleased with our performance levels.
“I think if we can go out there and put in the same kind of performance for the 90 minutes then hopefully we can get the three points.
“It’ll be a difficult game. They’ve got a new manager, who will have different ideas on how he wants to set Alloa up, and I’m sure it’s going to be a really tough game.
“So, we’ll need to be our best to take the three points, but if we do then it would pull us further away from Queen of the South in the table.”