Dunfermline Press

Positive signs ahead of derby

- Amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

Ally McRoberts REPORTER

KANE Ritchie-Hosler’s return to training has given the Pars a “boost” ahead of the derby clash with Raith on Saturday.

The 20-year-old went under the knife after suffering an ankle injury in training at the start of July and was facing up to three months on the sidelines.

But the former Rangers and Man City wide boy started jogging earlier this month and is now back with the squad ahead of the Championsh­ip match against Rovers at East End.

Pars boss James McPake said: “Kane started training today (Tuesday) so that’s a positive for the football club and positive for the boy in particular, having him back amongst the boys.

“We’ll wait and see. We’ll assess him for the rest of the week. He has done a lot of work with the medical department as well.

“He’s not missed too long, albeit he’s had surgery, but he’s a naturally fit boy.

“We’re just delighted for him personally to be back training as it’s a frustratin­g time for any player when they’re injured.

“It’s given the squad a boost as well as he’s an important player and a good character.”

Dunfermlin­e haven’t played since the 1-1 draw at Tannadice on August 12 but the enforced two week break didn’t faze McPake, who took the opportunit­y to watch Raith lose 2-1 to Hibs in the league cup at Easter Road on Sunday.

He opted for training sessions over friendly matches and shrugged: “There are always breaks in the season, whether it’s the Scottish weather, internatio­nal matches or whatever, it’s part of football.

“I get people saying it’s not great, you want to keep going and build momentum, but there are advantages.

“Lewis McCann was ill so it gave him a couple of weeks to get better, and it gave Michael O’Halloran and Ben Summers, who’s just new to the club, a couple of weeks to keep working with us.”

The Fife rivals are level on four points each after two games, although Athletic enjoyed the bragging rights after the 1-1 league cup draw and penalty shoot-out win last month.

McPake said: “There is always a good atmosphere in a derby, they’re good games and the fans love them.

“To strip it back though, it’s just another match and all about the three points.

“I was never one to get caught up in them if I’m honest.”

The last time Pars beat Raith at East End Park, a 2-0 triumph in the

Championsh­ip in April 2022, Kyle Benedictus was playing for the Rovers.

From the Dunfermlin­e team that took to the pitch, only Matty Todd, Joe Chalmers and Josh Edwards are still at the club.

Two players that featured and have since left are strikers Kevin O’Hara and Nikolay Todorov but McPake explained why he’s not looking for two more hitmen.

The boss said: “The focus is on Raith Rovers but we are still actively looking to bring in good players.

“We made a decision for Kevin and Nikolay to leave so I get why people say we have lost two strikers but at times last season we only had one striker available, so I’m not getting too caught up in that. We had four senior strikers last season and I felt that was too much, it wasn’t something for squad balance that we were going to look to do anyway so we were always going to cut that.”

One player that will add an attacking element to the team is Summers, the recent loan capture from Celtic, and McPake said: “He’s an exceptiona­l young talent, he has a lot of good attributes in his game.

“The thing I like most about him is his willingnes­s to learn, work hard and get better.

“He’s been fantastic since he came in and he’s going to be a good player for us this season.”

YOU can win tickets for Saturday’s derby match between Dunfermlin­e Athletic and Raith Rovers in our competitio­n.

Thanks to the Pars, we have got tickets for a family of four – two adults and two children – to give away with seats in the Norrie McCathie Stand.

Our lucky winner will be able to pick up the tickets on match day.

To have a chance of winning, just answer this question:

What was the score the last time Pars beat the Rovers at KDM East End Park?

Email your answer, including name and contact phone number, to editorial@ dunfermlin­epress. co. uk by noon tomorrow (Friday).

 ?? ?? Kane Ritchie-Hosler is back in training after ankle surgery. Image: Craig Brown
Kane Ritchie-Hosler is back in training after ankle surgery. Image: Craig Brown

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