Raith match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Raith Rovers
Ladbrokes Championship
Tuesday 28th February 2017, Kick-off 7.45pm

On Tuesday night, Ayr United have an early opportunity to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of St. Mirren on Saturday when Raith Rovers make the trip to Somerset Park. United have lost their last three league matches at home but know a first league win since mid-October will close the gap to the Kirkcaldy side in 8th place to one point.

Raith Rovers have recorded a league victory more recently than the Honest Men – but only just. The Fifers are without a win since October 29th and have picked up just six points from a possible 42 since. On Saturday, they were defeated 2-1 in Dumfries, John Rankin and Derek Lyle scoring early goals for Queen of the South with Raith defender Jean-Yves Mvoto’s second-half header proving only to be consolation.

The Opposition: Former Ayr United captain John Hughes was appointed manager of Raith Rovers earlier this month following the departure of Gary Locke. Hughes made 63 appearances for Ayr, scoring twice, and led the side to the League Cup final in 2002.

It is just over 5 years since Yogi last managed a side at Somerset Park – his only time in the opposition dugout. Andy Geggan (2) and Eddie Malone scoring in a 3-1 win over Hughes’s Livingston side, for whom Ross Docherty featured at right-back.

Also returning to Somerset Park is Ryan Stevenson. Stevo has already found the net in front of the home faithful this season while at Dumbarton but made the switch to Raith Rovers in January and scored a trademark long range effort against Hibs a fortnight ago. Prior to his departure, Gary Locke also added striker Ryan Hardie on loan from Rangers.

Team News: Ross Docherty is suspended. Peter Murphy, Robbie Crawford and Jamie Adams are out with injuries. Paddy Boyle and Declan McDaid are doubtful.

Ian McCall says: “It’s another huge game, they all are for us now. We were absolutely devastated with the result and performance on Saturday so it is great we have this game to try and put it right so quickly. We need to have more passion and desire and get around the pitch better. We are still right in the mix, a win tomorrow and we increase the gap on St Mirren and bring several teams closer to us so its a really big game.”

Head-to-Head (league competition):
Ayr United wins – 48
Draws – 44
Raith Rovers wins – 48

Last meeting: There was plenty of drama when the sides last met at the end of November. Joel Coustrain put the home side ahead after 17 minutes at Starks Park but Rovers captain Kyle Benedictus was sent off before half-time for picking up two yellow cards. The Honest Men were in the ascendancy but hopes of an equaliser were given a setback when a crude challenge from Paul Cairney on the hour mark saw United’s

The return fixture on the opening day of the season at Somerset Park ended 2-0 to the Rovers with Ross Callachan and Ross Matthews on the scoresheet.

On this day: in 2009, United defeated Queen’s Park 3-0 at Hampden Park courtesy of goals from Mark Roberts, Kenny Connolly and Ryan Stevenson.

Match Officials:
Referee – Willie Collum
Assistant Referee 1 – David Roome
Assistant Referee 2 – Connor Ashwood

Admission:
Adults – £17
Concessions – £10
U16s – £5