RAITH Rovers manager Gary Locke is eyeing the perfect Christmas present after welcoming skipper Jason Thomson back to training this week.
Thomson has been sidelined for three months with a knee injury that initially required total rest and has left the Kirkcaldy outfit with trouble filling his right-back slot.
But the 29-year-old has been given the all-clear to return to training and has so far suffered no reaction to stepping up his recovery.
Tomorrow’s visit of Dundee United will come too soon for the former Hearts defender but Locke is looking forward to being able to recall his captain – and stopper Craig Barr, who is also back training after missing the entire season so far with a groin problem.
Locke said: “Jason has trained. He still won’t be available for probably a couple of weeks but it’s good to get him back on the training pitch, as it is Craig Barr.
“It’s been a long slog for them but their experience will be vital to us and I’m delighted to get them back.
“Jason’s not had any reaction and as long as he doesn’t then he can crack on and we can hopefully get him in amongst the squad maybe at the start of the year.
“He’s only trained a couple of days, so if we can get a good week’s training out of him, and make sure he doesn’t get any reaction, then the next step is to play in a development game and then take it from there.”
Meanwhile, the Rovers boss has hailed the work of Ray McKinnon ahead of his predecessor’s return to Stark’s Park with Dundee United on Saturday.
Locke, whose side lost for the first time in seven games with last Saturday’s controversial 1-0 defeat at St Mirren, added: “There will be a wee bit extra to the game with the previous manager coming back, but Ray did a fantastic job here at Raith and people have got to remember that.
“It’s not up to me how our supporters react to Ray coming back but it’s certainly a game I’m looking forward to and it will be a great game for all the players to play in.”