BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
RAITH Rovers boss Gary Locke hopes he is closing in on attacking reinforcements after being left with only two strikers in his first-team squad.
The Stark’s Park side have just Mark Stewart and Lewis Vaughan on the books and Locke has quickly identified the position as one that needs strengthened.
However, the former Hearts and Kilmarnock manager, who replaced Ray McKinnon earlier this summer, is coming up against stiff opposition for the new recruits he has targeted.
He said: “We’re getting there. It’s hard, because every striker we seem to be in for, there’s about six or seven clubs after them.
“We’re in talks with players at the moment and we just hope they see fit that they want to come and play for Raith Rovers and for myself and (assistant) Darren (Jackson).
“It’s proving difficult. For what we can pay and with what other clubs can pay, you tend to struggle when you compete with clubs that can pay that wee bit more. But we’ll keep working hard.”
Predecessor Ray McKinnon bolstered his attacking options using loans last season, bringing in Ryan Hardie from Rangers, Hamilton’s Louis Longridge and Harry Panayiotou or Leicester City.
Locke added: “The loan market is a big market for us. We have to adhere to a budget and we’ve not got a lot of money to bring players in.
“If we can do, we will. But, in the main, I think the loan market is the most sensible market for us at the minute.”
Meanwhile, Locke admits Vaughan’s return from injury is a massive boost to the club.
The 20-year-old suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury last August and missed the rest of the campaign, but is back in training ahead of the new season.
Locke added: “He’s looking good, he’s looking fit. It’s like having a new player.
“It’s important we have competition for places throughout the team. At the moment, we’ve only really god two recognised strikers, in him and Mark Stewart.
“So, that’s why I think it’s important we get one or two in.”