Kilmarnock V Ross County at Rugby Park : Match Preview

09 November 2012 05:01
Kilmarnock V Ross County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Heffernan hoping to form striker bond

Kilmarnock striker Paul Heffernan is aiming to form a lethal partnership with Cillian Sheridan as he continues his recovery from injury against Ross County in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday.

Heffernan missed the first 10 weeks of the season after breaking his collarbone and manager Kenny Shiels signed Sheridan in his absence.

Sheridan has scored five goals in seven games and Heffernan has been restricted to three substitute appearances since regaining his fitness, replacing his fellow Irishman in the last two games.

Shiels has often preferred one main striker and both Sheridan and Heffernan tend to play off the shoulder of the last defender.

But Heffernan watched his team-mate strike up a good bond with Francisco Sandaza at St Johnstone last season and hopes they can link up themselves.

Heffernan, who scored 15 goals last season, said: "I missed a lot of pre-season and a lot of the end of last season.

"I've been back in training for three or four weeks now so hopefully I just need some more games to try and get fit and get back in the team.

"We've brought big Cillian in who has done brilliantly. Hopefully we can strike up a good understanding. He is an intelligent player and it's easy to play with clever footballers.

"Hopefully we can get something going and get us up the league table. We didn't play a lot with two strikers last season because the manager opted to go with one, probably with Dean Shiels just in behind myself.

"Cillian struck up a good partnership last season with Sandaza so hopefully we can do the same here."

County and Killie are level on 15 points and Heffernan is eager to pull away from the bottom six after his side followed victory at Celtic Park with a home defeat by Inverness.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster striker said: "I've not seen much of them. What I have seen is that they are a good, well-organised team who are very hard to break down.

"We'll have to be brave with the ball. I'm sure it will be a very tough game, as all the games are in the SPL. It's a very competitive league.

"We just need to be more consistent. We beat Celtic away one week and then we go and lose at home to Inverness. No disrespect to Inverness but they are the sort of games that we've got to get up for and win as well."

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell is eligible after winning his red card appeal. Killie had their appeal against Bell's dismissal for denying a goalscoring opportunity upheld by a Scottish Football Association panel on Thursday.

Shiels still has William Gros, Garry Hay and Danny Racchi on the sidelines.

Marc Fitzpatrick is determined to show Kenny Shiels that Ross County can play good football after the Kilmarnock manager's scathing comments over the standard of entertainment the last time the teams met.

Shiels claimed the goalless draw between the sides at Dingwall on September 1 was "anti-football" and said both teams kept giving each other the ball.

The result was symptomatic of the tight nature of County's start to life in the SPL - their first six games only produced a total of three goals.

But their second half-dozen matches have seen a remarkable turnaround with a total of 28 goals. And although Shiels was being critical of his own team too, Fitzpatrick is eager to prove a point.

The former Motherwell player said: "It was a difficult game, a 0-0 draw. We know they are good on the ball and have very good movement. We need to defend against that. It's difficult in away games, you need to be more on your guard.

"They have added Sheridan and he's scored the majority of their goals, so it's another threat we have to deal with. Hopefully we can go there and play the sort of football we are capable of.

"Their manager's comments the last time they played here, I don't know if they were aimed at us, but it was a bit disrespectful. We can play football but we can also mix it up a bit."

County are still without midfielders Paul Lawson and Russell Duncan. Lawson has a hamstring injury while Duncan is still short of fitness following injury.

Mark Corcoran is back in training following a groin problem but is not likely to feature.

Source: PA