BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
RUDI Skacel looks set to be denied his eagerly-anticipated Raith Rovers debut this weekend because of red tape.
The Hearts legend joined Rovers on a one-year deal last week but the Kirkcaldy club have so far not been able to secure international clearance for their new recruit.
The Czech Republic cap was last with Mlada Boleslav in his homeland but there has been a frustrating delay in the completion of the paperwork for the 37-year-old’s return to Scotland.
Manager Gary Locke told Capital City Press: “We can’t get clearance for Rudi, that’s been the problem. If we can get clearance then he’ll be in the squad.
“The hold up is at the Czech Republic end but as soon as we get that sorted out he’ll be available for selection.”
Skacel played 90 minutes in a closed-door friendly against Bonnyrigg Rose on Wednesday night but, with the 2006 and 2012 Scottish Cup final goal-scoring hero still short of match-fitness, Locke is staying relaxed over the hold-up.
He added: “At the minute, it’s not too bad because he was a wee bit behind in terms of pre-season.
“It means we can work him hard and by the time his clearance comes through he’ll be up to speed.
“He got the full 90 minutes in a bounce game on Wednesday night and we’ll hopefully get another game organised for next week so that he can be ready to go.”
Meanwhile, Locke has urged his side to clinch top spot in Betfred Cup Group D when they host league leaders Alloa Athletic tomorrow.
The Wasps have a 100 per cent record from their first three games, whilst Rovers have won two and secured a bonus-point draw against Ross County on Saturday.
The winners will clinch qualification for the knock-out phase and give themselves a massive boost ahead of the league kick-off next weekend.
Locke added: “It’s a really good game for everybody to look forward to, because Alloa have done brilliantly and won their three games. We’ve had them watched and they’ve done great and they deserve to be where they are.
“So, we know it’s going to be a really difficult game.
“But we’re in a decent position ourselves and we know that if we can get a win we’ll top the group.
“The incentive is there for both teams, so it should be a good game.”
• Former Raith Rovers and Kilmarnock defender Rory McKeown is bidding to win a move to Stuart McCall’s Bradford City.
The Northern Ireland under-21 cap has been training with the Bantams after leaving Rovers at the end of last season in the hope of securing a return south of the border.
The 23-year-old began his career as a trainee at Ipswich Town before joining Killie five years ago.
Ex-Motherwell and Rangers boss McCall is seeking competition for the left-back slot and ran the rule over McKeown in a low-key 2-2 draw in a friendly with near neighbours Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday.