Motherwell V Kilmarnock at Fir Park Stadium : Match Preview

28 December 2012 08:01
Motherwell V Kilmarnock - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McCall happy to welcome back Shiels

Stuart McCall is looking forward to meeting up once more with one of his favourite managerial colleagues when Kilmarnock visit Motherwell on Clydesdale Bank Premier League duty.

Killie's outspoken boss Kenny Shiels is free to return to the technical area at Fir Park following a three-game touchline ban for remarks made about referee Euan Norris following his side's defeat to Inverness on November 3, with another two-game ban suspended until the end of next season.

And Shiels' feud with the footballing authorities will continue into 2013.

He accused fourth official Andrew Dallas of an "outrageous fabrication" against him after an incident which saw the Northern Irishman sent to the stand in a home SPL match against St Johnstone last month.

Shiels has been asked by Scottish Football Association's disciplinary panel to explain those comments on 10 January.

McCall, though, admits he is a big fan of the Rugby Park boss.

"Kenny is interesting, I see him at a lot of games and bounce matches," the Well manager told Press Association Sport.

"He's a football man, he studies and is enthusiastic about the game and I get on fine with him.

"We've never had a cross word during games and he is always in afterwards for a cup of tea.

"And I will be honest, when I've driven home a couple of times from games I have been watching this season I've actually sat in the car waiting for his interview to come on, just to listen to see what he has got to say.

"He is always entertaining. He is a deep thinker and I think he has been good for the game.

"And I like his Kilmarnock side. I think they have a lot of good players, I could go through the whole side.

"They will be definitely looking to be top six with the squad they have got and they will be confident of doing that."

Motherwell's thumping 4-1 home win over Aberdeen on Boxing Day moved them level on points with second-place Inverness.

However, McCall is reading little into league positions at this stage of the campaign.

The former Scotland, Rangers and Everton midfielder said: "The boys are playing with a lot of confidence.

"Take out the cup games and we have been pleased with the consistency levels.

"It would be nice to end the year with back-to-back home wins but it is easy to get carried away.

"We have not beaten Kilmarnock here since I've been in charge, they are always tight games but always good games."

Kilmarnock striker Cillian Sheridan is looking to return to their preferred style of football against Motherwell, despite taking seven points from three games.

Killie have beaten Aberdeen and Hearts and drawn with Hibernian in recent weeks, but manager Shiels has not been completely satisfied with the standard of play.

Sheridan will return to one of his former clubs when Killie travel to Fir Park - he enjoyed a loan spell at Motherwell from Celtic when Mark McGhee was in charge - and he is looking to use the occasion to revert to their passing game.

The Irishman said: "I have good memories from it and I'm looking forward to going there. I learnt a lot. It was my first loan move so it was an eye-opener to life outside Celtic.

"It opens your eyes to things most clubs outside Celtic had - training facilities and pitches. But the benefit of it is that you're playing first-team football rather than friendlies or sitting on the bench. So it was a good move at the time.

"There are four players I think, Steven Hammell, Keith Lasley, Jamie Murphy and Shaun Hutchinson, who were there. It's actually not often you see that now. Even at Celtic there are only one or two players who are still there. I think a lot of the SPL is the same.

"For the last two or three seasons they have been playing good attractive football. We try to as well. Maybe the last few games we haven't played as much football as we would have liked.

"Hopefully we can get back to that and it should be an entertaining game.

"The weather can sometimes come into play when it's windy and wet. We always seek to play football but sometimes you have to overcome the conditions."

Kilmarnock have lost defenders Manuel Pascali and Mohamadou Sissoko for the match.

Pascali has a hamstring problem and Sissoko went over on his ankle in the Boxing Day win over Hearts with both expected to be out for a week or two.

Danny Racchi, Garry Hay and William Gros remain on the sidelines.

Source: PA