Kilmarnock V Motherwell at Rugby Park : Match Preview

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

McCall - Small Well squad is no myth

Stuart McCall has laughed off suggestions by Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels that Motherwell only possessing a small squad is a "myth".

Speaking ahead of Saturday's meeting between the sides at Rugby Park, Shiels suggested the Steelmen have a "much bigger" squad than Kilmarnock and that the Ayrshire side "can't shop in the same market as Motherwell".

Well manager McCall was keen to avoid a war of words with the often controversial and outspoken Shiels, although he was quick to dismiss the Northern Irishman's views on the size of his squad.

"I find Kenny interesting and entertaining, I have never had any problems with him, unlike a few of the other SPL managers," said McCall.

"I had a little smile when I read his comments, I don't know if Kenny believes everything he says himself - I thought he perhaps had a few too many sherbets.

"Since I arrived at Motherwell, Kilmarnock have always had a bigger squad than ourselves.

"They did lose players in the window and that brought them down to having a similar size of squad as we do here.

"I'm not going to complain about our size of squad though, sometimes it can be a good thing and we have also been fortunate with injuries."

Saturday's match will be only Motherwell's third fixture of 2013.

They trail second-placed Inverness on goal difference in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and McCall knows his side cannot let their lack of match-sharpness play a part against Killie.

"We want to come out of the blocks early and don't want to see any signs of rustiness," added McCall.

"The boys should be raring to go, since we have been inactive results have been quite kind, now we need to do our own bit.

"First and foremost we have to clinch a place in the top six and it would be fantastic if we could go on and achieve a European (qualification) place again."

McCall has almost a full squad to pick from. Darren Randolph has returned to full training after limping off in the Fir Park side's last outing - a 3-2 victory over St Johnstone almost three weeks ago.

Steven Saunders is also back in training, although the defender will not feature in McCall's squad due to a lack of match sharpness.

Mahamadou Sissoko has backed Kilmarnock for a place in the top six this season as they aim for success in both the league and the William Hill Scottish Cup.

The Ayrshire side defied the odds to knock out favourites Inverness and book their place in the quarter-finals of the cup competition with an impressive 2-0 win last week.

Sissoko sees no reason why Killie cannot build on the result and force their way into the top half of the table this term.

Kilmarnock head into their weekend match against Motherwell just three points behind sixth-placed Aberdeen and Sissoko says the dressing room is full of confidence.

The defender said: "It's very important to be in the top half of the table because the top six is always more exciting. So I hope we can finish in the top six this year.

"Everyone is focused and I think we can be in the top six.

"We had a good game against Inverness last week and the confidence is high now.

"Hopefully we can win this game. Motherwell are a good team, with good strikers, but hopefully it will be a good game for us."

Boss Shiels believes Killie can once again take advantage of their underdogs tag to come out on top when Motherwell come calling.

He said: "We're looking positive and we want to stay positive for as long as we can.

"We went into the game as underdogs last week and we did well.

"We are doing the same again this week and everybody is up for this game.

"It's great to get a result like the cup game. It gives everybody a lift and you can't wait for the next game."

However, he is under no illusions about the challenge facing his players, adding: "I expect a tough game.

"They are a really good football team and they have done brilliantly.

"We've played the league leaders, we've played the second-placed team and now we play the joint second team in a matter of nine days.

"The top three in the league - it's a big test for us."

Cillian Sheridan has been ruled out for Kilmarnock. The forward was forced out of last week's cup win over Inverness with a hamstring problem and will be out of action for four to six weeks.

Ross Barbour is rated doubtful for the visit of the Steelmen with a flu bug.

Source: PA