Nicholl warns Raith of hard work ahead

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The Independent Online
Raith Rovers are a step nearer to fulfilling their dream of a glamorous European game in their first Uefa Cup campaign. The Kirkcaldy club will carry a 3-1 lead to Iceland in two weeks' time after making good use of home advantage in the first leg of their first round tie with IA Akranes.

Nevertheless Raith, who have already scored nine goals in the competition - they put six past the Faroese club, GI Gotu, in the preliminary round - know that they may need to reach double figures to make sure they overcome talented opponents, who secured an away goal that could yet prove crucial in deciding the tie.

Danny Lennon was the toast of Kirkcaldy for scoring twice on Wednesday night - Barry Wilson added the third - and the former Hibernian player is confident of finding the net in the return match.

"I'm getting the rewards now after missing out in the Coca-Cola Cup final, and it is good to get back on the score sheet," he said. "The boss has been urging me to get forward and have a crack at goal more often.

"The three goals give us a great chance and I don't see how we can go there and not score again. But we will have to defend properly - they are very quick up front."

Jimmy Nicholl, Raith's manager, was happy enough with the result but he remains cautious, knowing that the job is far from finished. "The scoreline puts us in a good position, but it was a hard, hard-working performance which got us this far," he said. "The game may not have been pretty but it was exciting. "I thought Akranes looked dangerous every time they attacked and Scott Thomson pulled off a wonder save to keep them down to one goal. The second leg is going to be hard and we know we will have to dig deep."

Raith will be boosted in the second leg by the return from illness of Jim McInally, but their English full-back, Julian Broddle, will be suspended after collecting his second booking of the competition.

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