Hearts V Kilmarnock at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

15 February 2013 04:31
Hearts V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Shiels reveals Ipswich interest in Bell

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels has revealed Ipswich are the latest club to make an approach to out-of-contract goalkeeper Cammy Bell.

The Rugby Park number one is also a target for Rangers but Shiels claims Ibrox manager Ally McCoist faces competition from the npower Championship outfit and others.

Bell said earlier this week that he had yet to make a decision on where he would be playing his football next season.

Now his manager insists he will offer his own advice in the coming weeks in the hope of keeping the player with the Ayrshire Clydesdale Bank Premier League outfit.

Shiels told Press Association Sport: "Ipswich Town are in for him and there other clubs that have made approaches from England.

"I will sit down with him, maybe in March, and we'll have a wee discussion about what he feels is the best way forward for his career.

"I will give him my advice and he will make his decision from there. What will I tell him? That's personal between me and him but hopefully it is good advice.

"Wherever he goes to, he will be first choice. There is no doubt about that."

If Bell does depart, he will follow Liam Kelly, Michael Nelson and Gary Harkins out of Rugby Park after their January exits.

Shiels resisted the urge to take the option utilised by Saturday's SPL opponents Hearts - who they face at Tynecastle hoping to extend an impressive run which has seen just two defeats in their last 11 games - and bring in loan signings.

Instead he has put his faith in the club's youngsters such as Ross Barbour and Mark O'Hara and believes the Scottish Football Association must force other teams to do the same for the good of the national team.

He said: "I'm not going to say anything bad about Hearts. The players they have brought in on loan - Danny Wilson and Michael Ngoo - are high earners and established players. They have had a major impact so far.

"But please believe me, to avail of that is not a crime. I fully support John McGinn in what he has done. He's had a lot of hits this year and has brought through kids.

"I used two loan signings to get to the League Cup final last year and I feel a little bit guilty about that because Ben Gordon, a loan signing played, and Rory McKeown, a development player, didn't.

"But I've moved away from that now and Kilmarnock are now the model way and the correct way to do things. We grow our own and don't use the loan system and I feel good about that.

"We must do things to benefit Gordon Strachan. So should the SFA put restrictions on the number of loans? Yep. I'd totally agree with that. There has to be a restriction. It should be reduced considerably."

Bell remains doubtful for the Tynecastle clash as he continues his recovery from a hip injury, but Killie have James Fowler available again after suspension.

Striker Cillian Sheridan and defender Rory McKeown, meanwhile, have no chance of featuring as they recover from knocks.

Hearts youngster Fraser Mullen expects boss John McGlynn to put his faith in one of his fresh-faced colleagues to fill the gap left by injured skipper Marius Zaliukas - but admits replacing the Lithuanian's leadership will be a harder task.

Zaliukas has undergone surgery on the ankle ligaments he tore in a tussle with Dundee United's Johnny Russell last weekend and will miss the rest of the season.

McGlynn has already admitted that the out-of-contract centre-back has "possibly" now played his last game for a club he first joined in 2006.

The manager could turn to either Darren Barr or Danny Wilson as he looks for a new defensive partner for Andy Webster - but 19-year-old Mullen would not be surprised if one of his teenage team-mates was also called upon.

However, he expects finding a new source of maturity and influence amongst a squad which has seen its average age plummet in recent weeks will be a tough task.

He told Press Association Sport: "Marius will be a big loss. He's the captain of the team and an influential player.

"There are a lot of young players in the team now and he helps us all through the games with his experience, so not having that there is a blow.

"And being the skipper, he's also a big figure in the changing room and one of the most vocal lads in the team. Having to do without him will be hard.

"He obviously plays a huge part for us and we will miss him. But I'm sure someone can come in and do a similar job as well. It could be another chance for one of the young lads."

As well as missing Zaliukas, McGlynn's men will also be without Ryan Stevenson after he was handed a three-match ban following his straight red card for a dangerous studs-up tackle against Dundee United.

Source: PA