Saturday 13th April 2013
Kick off: 3.00pm
|Adult£17||Parent & Child£20||Student*£13||Concession*£9||Disabled*Half price||Under 6Free|
*Students, jobseekers and disabled must purchase their ticket from the ticket office and will be asked for proof of status.
Raith Rovers welcome Cowdenbeath to Kirkcaldy on Saturday, in what will be Raith’s eighth, and final, Fife derby of the season. Rovers 2-1 midweek win over Dumbarton, coupled with Dunfermline’s 15 point deduction for entering administration, mean that Stark’s Park is guaranteed to be playing host to First Division football next term.
Dunfermline’s punishment has given a major boost to Cowdenbeath’s survival hopes, and they now find themselves eighth, three points, and one place better off than the East End Park club, who now occupy the relegation play-off spot.
Raith go into the match on the back of an impressive run of form, taking seven points from their last three outings, whilst Cowdenbeath will be buoyed by Marc McKenzie’s 90th minute equaliser that secured a 2-2 draw against Livingston on Tuesday.
Raith’s 4-2 reverse at the hands of Dumbarton a fortnight ago put them in danger of being dragged into a tussle at the bottom of the league, but the form since has delighted the Rovers boss,
“It wasn’t the result we wanted certainly. We got off to a great start in the first half, but to end up conceding four goals was really disappointing, and on paper the next few games did look tough. All credit to the lads though, we beat Morton, and to be honest, I felt we were unlucky not to take all three points against Partick. Going back down to Dumbarton during the week and coming away with a win was great to see as well, as Ian Murray’s had them playing some good stuff since he come in.”
“I’d love to put my finger on exactly what the wee improvement has been down too, if I could then we’d maybe win every week. I think the lads knew they hadn’t performed as well as they could that night, and on top of that they knew it was a big game. To lose four goals in those circumstances is poor and they knew they’d let themselves down.”
“Maybe the next two matches were actually good for us to bounce back in, as you know you have to start well against Partick and Morton. We had already played well in the games against them this season, and probably should have taken more points off them. It was just a case of reminding the players beforehand that we can go and compete against teams like Morton and Partick and I felt we did exactly that.”
The Rovers player/manager has come back into the starting line up in recent weeks, but he insists that the added role of playing hasn’t been a burden to him,
“Combining playing with managing hasn’t been a problem. You do miss playing, and as I was registered as a player, I’ve trained every day and made myself available. I felt I maybe needed to take a step back and take things in from the side, but due to different things, a few injuries and suspensions, I felt there was a position I could fill at the back, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
The visit of Cowdenbeath on Saturday gives Rovers a chance to win their first derby of the season, a fact that Murray recognises the importance of,
“It’s a Fife derby, a game that by its very nature means that you’ve got to get yourself up for it. There’s always that wee bit added pressure on the players because of the local rivalry. Cowdenbeath’s league position improved during the week because Dunfermline were handed their 15 point deduction, and that’s put them in a very difficult position. Its meant that Cowdenbeath have caught up with them, and now hold a slight lead going into this weekends game. They also got a good point against Livingston during the week, so they’ll feel good about themselves going into this one.”
Raith may have made themselves mathematically safe during the week, but Murray feels that it won’t have any bearing on this weekends performance,
“It doesn’t matter that we’re safe. Footballers love winning games of football, and we’ve got five games left and fifteen points to play for, and we want to win as many of those points as we can. We certainly won’t be taking our foot off the gas.”
Pat Clarke’s groin injury looks likely to keep him out for another seven days at least, while Cowdenbeath were dealt a blow during the week, with the news that Scott Linto will miss the rest of the season with a hamstring strain. The away side did have some good news though, after on-loan Motherwell striker Craig Moore revealed he may be fit enough to play, after his ankle injury turned out to be not as bad as was first feared.
Raith go into the game sitting sixth in the First Division form table, having taken 12 points from their last eight games. Cowdenbeath’s current run sees them sitting eighth in the form guide, having taken 6 points from a possible 24.
All three of this seasons previous matches between the pair has ended up in goal scoring draws, although perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise as Cowdenbeath have drawn 12 games this term, more than any other club in the league, while Raith have drawn 11.
Saturday will see the Blue Brazil aiming to remain unbeaten against Rovers over the course of a season for the first time since the 1984/85 season, when both sides, along with Dunfermline were in the Second Division. Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath just missed out on promotion that term, finishing third and fourth, while Raith ended up seventh.
Raith Rovers are unbeaten in their last ten league games against Cowdenbeath. Cowden’s last win in the fixture was a 1-0 win at Central Park in August 2008.
Overall Head-to-Head League Record at Stark’s Park:
Raith Rovers wins 22
Cowdenbeath wins 13
Raith Rovers goals 86
Cowdenbeath goals 60
Raith Rovers 8/11