Dunfermline ready to utilise 'sweet left foot' of Steven Lawless in Fife derby with Raith Rovers

He’s the one who got away for John Hughes. However, the Dunfermline manager will counter rivals Raith Rovers’ recruitment of Sam Stanton with a new signing of his own in this afternoon’s Fife derby to kick off 2022.

Steven Lawless left Motherwell earlier this year and had been training at Livingston before signing at Dunfermline. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Steven Lawless left Motherwell earlier this year and had been training at Livingston before signing at Dunfermline. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Steven Lawless will be pitched in from the start and line up against Rovers’ latest signing, who Hughes tried to lure to Dingwall last year but instead moved to Dundalk in Ireland.

The manager is enthused about his own new midfielder, who has brought a smile to his face on the training ground and will address a wide-right role that has been lacking since Hughes joined the Pars. This afternoon he wants to see more of the feelgood factor an trickery from training in Alloa, on the pitch at Stark’s Park.

“Steven Lawless will need to be in the starting XI,” he said. “When he came in on Monday to do his medical and fitness tests, his running stats and numbers were right up there. All credit to him for looking after himself while training at Livingston.

Dunfermline Manager John Hughes will field Steven Lawless against old club Raith Rovers. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

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“He has that wee ‘see you later’ which, to my amusement, he can have a bit of fun with the defender that he is doing it to. He is a good player and he is right in amongst it. He has a sweet left foot and he hopefully he will be a big player from now until the end of the season.”

Hughes’ task is to turn around Dunfermline’s season after spending the opening months of the campaign winless and rooted to the bottom of the table. Now in ninth, there are steady improvements which, with supplements like Lawless, can be developed, he believes.

“My whole focus in coming here has been on what I know needs done. I am really trying to concentrate on what I have got and get the best out of these guys. I have seen them playing some right good stuff and taking the game to teams. We need to do that with more consistency.

“We need to do it against Raith Rovers, a good footballing side, they have a lot going for them. Come the end of the season they will be there or thereabouts for promotion.

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“I know that they have signed Sam Stanton, he was one that I tried to sign when I was up at Ross County but he decided to go to Ireland. Raith Rovers look like they are in a right good place. We know what we are up against, I have seen them two or three times this year - I saw them against Celtic and against Inverness and I have been very impressed."

Lawless will be joined, this afternoon at least, by Mark Connolly and Kai Kennedy, but the loan players’ deals will be reviewed during January and Hughes has been open about his desire to keep them – and possibly add James Maxwell, currently on loan at Ayr United, from Rangers.

“We have brought Steven Lawless in and there is probably room for another one maybe two and then after that we are spinning the plates,” Hughes admitted. “It is not easy, you think that you are close but then you get a spanner in the works. I’d like to have one or two in but I wouldn’t count my chickens.”

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