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Hughes looking forward

By February 18, 2017No Comments

New Raith Rovers boss John Hughes insists he is relishing the prospect of taking on promotion favourites Hibernian.

Hughes will take charge of the Kirkcaldy outfit for the first time since being named Gary Locke’s replacement when they host the Ladbrokes Championship leaders on Saturday.

He inherits a side which has not won a league game since October but believes facing Neil Lennon’s men is the perfect game to see what his new players are made of.

The former Falkirk, Hibs and Inverness boss told RaithTV: “This is the acid test. We’re playing the best team and the best players in the league.

“There will be plenty of questions asked of the boys in the team, hopefully we come up with the positive answers.

“It won’t be easy but we want that test.

“I think the boys are well equipped for the season ahead. I’ve been impressed by their enthusiasm, the way they work, their togetherness.

“Obviously I think the confidence is a little fragile but that comes from results. It’s our job to get the gold dust on them and get the best out of them.”

Lennon admits he is unsure what kind of line-up Hughes will put out at Stark’s Park, but is not concerned in any event.

He told HibsTV: “They don’t have the biggest of squads so I don’t think they will be able to change up too much.

“However, I don’t know how they will line up or what changes John will make, so basically it’s all about my team and how we go about our business.

“We’re on a good run and just off the back of a good result against Hearts. This is a different game but the approach has to be the same.

“We know what’s at stake – if we win, we go nine points clear. That’s a huge incentive for us.

“It won’t be easy. We’ve drawn with Raith twice and were unfortunate in the first game when Marvin Barclay got sent off and it was later rescinded.

“We also should have won the game we drew 1-1 on Christmas Eve by three or four.

“So with a new manager coming in it might give the Raith players a bit of added bounce. But we know the importance of this game. The game is very winnable for us.”

With St Mirren, Dundee United and Queen of the South all in Irn-Bru Cup action this weekend, there is a reduced Championship card.

Morton will jostle for the third spot with Falkirk when they travel to face Peter Houston’s Bairns, while second-bottom Ayr can close to with a point of Dumbarton if they beat the Sons at The Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.