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NO FOOTBALLER enjoys being injured.

Ian Smith is yet to pull on a Stranraer jersey in 2019 as he attempts to shake off a troublesome knee injury.

The frontman was again in the stands cheering on his team mates on Saturday as they picked up a point against Raith Rovers.

Smith revealed he had been close to returning only to suffer a setback.

He said: “It is probably me more than anything just being desperate to get back to help the team out on the pitch but I just need to keep the head.

“I spoke to the assistant manager (Chris Aitken) on Thursday night about it and he said I need to look after myself.

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“You don’t want to rush yourself back too early because if you rush yourself back too early you can be out for longer.

“It is very frustrating but I suppose it is part and parcel of football.”

Smith’s last appearance for the Blues came away to Dumbarton three days before Christmas.

The 20-year-old was a late substitute for PJ Crossan, who is also on the sidelines for Stranraer, playing the final seven minutes.

It was during that brief appearance that he first felt the injury.

He said: “I felt it a wee bit when I was running and I went to play a pass and put the boot through it – the injury is whenever I strike the ball.

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“I felt it go a wee bit but it was not too bad.

“Then, we were training on Christmas Eve down at Kilmarnock and I have hit a shot in one of the games at the end and it has just gone.

“Since then, it has just not felt right.

“I have always been resting it and it feels great.

“If I rest it for three or four weeks, I can run, I can sprint and I can pass the ball with the inside of the foot.

“I can do anything but as soon as I try to put the laces through the ball, hit it really hard, which you need to do in football, I just cannot do it.”

Initially, Smith, the younger brother of Stranraer’s full back David Smith, had targeted returning in time for the Scottish Cup clash with Partick Thistle on January 19.

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However, the injury flared up, which means he is still waiting for again being named in Stevie Farrell’s matchday 18.

In the meantime, Smith, who scored his only goal for Stranraer away to Arbroath in November, has to be content with a seat in the stand.

He said: “I hate watching the games, to be honest with you.

“When you are sitting in the stand, you just want to be involved.

“You cannot do anything and you want to be involved in the games.

“It is frustrating watching it from the stand but, when I am here, I am obviously cheering the boys on and hoping we get three points.

“It is frustrating knowing you cannot play and be involved.”

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16

2019/20 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Scott Robertson (DEF)
3 - Jordan Allan (DEF)
4 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
5 - Lee Hamilton (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - James Hilton (MID/STR)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Ryan Stevenson (STR)
10 - Denny Johnstone (STR)
11 - Joao Victoria (MID/STR)

12 - Carlo Pignatiello (DEF/MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID/STR)
16 - Lewis McIntyre (DEF)
20 - Jordan Ross (MID)

21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)