Raith Rovers eyeing former Everton & Wigan striker Sam Cosgrove – as hopes of Mark Connolly deal end



Raith Rovers are running the rule over Wigan Athletic youngster Sam Cosgrove as Gary Locke seeks to bolster his attacking options.

The 19-year-old emerged through the youth ranks at Goodison Park before joining the Latics in 2013. Despite impressing at under-21 level, he is yet to make a first-team appearance for the club.

The 6ft3in striker did get a taste of senior action last term after being farmed out on loan to the likes of Barrow, Nantwich Town and Chorley in the lower reaches of English football.

Raith Rovers StadiumCosgrove trained with Rovers at their Glenrothes training base yesterday with a view to a potential loan deal with the Fifers and kick-start his career north of the border.

Locke, meanwhile, has confirmed that the club have failed to strike a deal with former Killie skipper Mark Connolly, who spent last week training with the Fifers.

The centre-half would have represented a ready-made replacement for Lewis Toshney, who joined Dundee United this week, but looks set for a more lucrative move south of the border.

That ensures the search for defensive reinforcements continues for Locke, who is adamant there is no hard feelings with Toshney after he handed in a transfer request to force through his move to Tannadice.

He added: “Mark was on a big wage at Kilmarnock and there are quite a few English clubs interested in him. I would have liked to bring him in if I could, but it looks like he is going to move down south.

“It is disappointing because I thought I may have a replacement there for Lewis Toshney.”

On Toshney’s exit, he added: “From my point of view, when a player tells you he wants to go to another club – doesn’t want to play for Raith – then it is not really a difficult decision. He had a fantastic season here last year, did really well, and he goes with our best wishes.

“Unfortunately for us he didn’t see his future at Raith. If that is the case, then people need to move on. There is no point of me working with an unhappy player. I want a group of players who want to be here.

“It’s not ideal because he is going to one of our rivals in the league but, at the same time, the club has money for him. We need to replace him, so that frees up Lewis’ wage and we have a bit of money.”

Locke also heaved a sigh of relief after injuries picked up by new signing Kevin McHattie and star striker Mark Stewart against Forfar proved to be less severe than first feared.

Both players failed to last the distance in the 2-0 defeat against the Loons, with ex-Hearts and Kilmarnock defender McHattie leaving Station Park on crutches.

However, an initial worries that a ligament in his knee may have been damaged proved wholly unfounded and both players are likely to be in contention for the friendly against Partick Thistle next Tuesday.