Raith Rovers eager to sink Falkirk

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RAITH Rovers manager Grant Murray has challenged his side to make it to their first cup semi-final since season 2009/10.

The Kirkcaldy side welcome Championship rivals Falkirk to Stark’s Park today and Murray said: “The last time we were in a semi-final was in the Scottish Cup three years ago when we played Dundee United. Even though we lost it was a terrific occasion for the club and the players.

“It would be great to create some of the atmosphere that we had at that time by getting through to the semi-final of the Ramsdens Cup.”

Defender Dougie Hill will miss out after an appeal against his sending off against Hearts in the League Cup was dismissed, but striker Greig Spence returns after a thigh strain.

Falkirk are in the mood to extend a record haul of Challenge Cup wins that presently stands at four in the various guises of the competition.

Technical director Alex Smith said: “Falkirk have a terrific record in this competition and we want that to continue. We last won it a year past April and would love to win it again.”

Smith however is not underestimating today’s opponents as he said: “We are expecting a right roaring cup tie and Raith Rovers are well equipped to handle a game like that.”

Jonny Flynn is available after coming through 90 minutes in an under-20 game in midweek after an ankle injury and new loan signing from Wigan, winger Rakish Bingham, looks set to start.

Dundee host Stenhousemuir today looking to avenge a 4-1 defeat at Ochilview from the Warriors that ended their spell as holders of the then ALBA Challenge Cup back in 2010.

Assistant manager Ray Farningham said: “A lot of the people at the club remember that night and want this side to make up for it. It is a terrific motivation to win this game.”

The Dark Blues have fitness doubts over the attacking trio of Jamie Reid, Steven Dorris and Nicky Riley, with long-term injury victim Stephen O’Donnell remaining out.

Stenhousemuir manager Martyn Corrigan has first-hand knowledge of the task facing his side as he spent a month of his playing career at Dundee. The Warriors miss defenders Eddie Malone and Ross Smith through suspension with Bryan Hodge out injured.

Annan manager Jim Chapman has told his players that they need to have the correct mental approach if they are to see off Highland League Formartine and reach the semi-
finals for the second time in three seasons. Chapman said: “This tie gives both sides a terrific opportunity to get through. Some people will see us as favourites as we are the SPFL side and are at home. The players therefore have to handle an increased level of expectation.”

The League Two side miss injured defender Steven Black, with 
goalkeeper Alex Mitchell, Steven Swinglehurst and Chris Jardine all facing fitness tests. Formartine will miss defender Mark Smith, who has a groin problem.