Managers Comments - January 2017

Jan 31st on Signing Umerach "Josh is a young striker who is a very quick, strong and powerful player and will add a lot of quality to the squad. Hopefully he will hit the ground running and score many goals for the Club." 

Lee McCulloch Jan 28th on the Staggies Post-Match; : “The second half today is the best we’ve played all season.  We got off to a great start and were then all over the place for 15 minutes.  But we regained our composure and we were brilliant in the second half.  It was hard for the boys at 2-1 down and the fans were on their back. But it’s a learning curve for them.  They need to deal with it if they want to play for a big club.  “Ajer was different class for us. At 18, he’s a pleasure to work with.  If he keeps going the way he is now, I see no reason why he won’t go on to play for Celtic in the future.  His attitude is terrific and that’s great for the young boys at this club to see. He’s given everyone here a lift.” - Match Report -

Jan 28th on Dropping McDonald: "I said to Jamie at the time that even if I hadn't signed Freddie I would have played young Devlin Mackay if he was available because I need to know I have two goalkeepers who can handle playing in the first team," said Clark. "I did that with Oliver Davies in the League Cup. And that would have been Devlin if he hadn’t got that hip injury. He and Jamie would have shared the four games in the League Cup. I think Freddie’s level of performance in the Cup game showed what he is about," the Kilmarnock manager added. "He was excellent. He has given me a big problem for the weekend, but it is a good one for any manager. I prefer these problems where I have two players showing the right stuff. "As has been rightly said, Jamie’s consistency has been fantastic. Now we have brought in one of the best young keepers from down south. I felt sorry for Freddie and some of the defenders last Saturday because they did really well. As a team, we did defend well. I hoped we could take the clean sheet and move on.
On the Supporters:I feel for them, We have gone four games without a goal and in all honesty, we didn’t trouble Hamilton too much as an attacking force and that was disappointing. I felt we were a little bit flat in the final third and the players might have lost a bit of confidence. We need to rebuild that. The fans just need to give us what they have since I came in through the door – their support," he added. "They are genuine. They support their team and if they are unhappy they voice that at half-time. They support their team again in the second half and if they are not pleased with what they have seen they voice their displeasure at the end. I have no qualms with that. We have lost our last two at home – St Johnstone and Hamilton – with each game being settled by a set play and without us showing enough in the final third. But I am confident we have a really exciting league programme ahead. We are three points off the top six and we have the team in sixth coming here. We have a chance to draw level with them and build a bit of momentum and confidence."

Jan 25th 2017 on What's Next After the Coulibaly Sale: "I would just say that we had a head-turning amount of money offered to us,  The way it was structured was all in Kilmarnock's favour for a player we only got six months ago on a free transfer.  Every player around the world has his value and I have seen some very talented players in Scotland since I arrived go for a lot less than the money we received for Souleymane.  As the manager I now need to replace him but it helps the club in many, many different ways. You get out of the top three or four clubs in Scotland and clubs would find it hard to turn this kind of deal down. We saw Motherwell have to do it with Marvin Johnson in the summer and Dundee with Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart. We're not the only club in this position.  I spoke to the board via phone calls, emails and I will sit down with them later on today now the deal has been ratified and give them my ideas and thoughts and where we should go if I am lucky enough to get some of those funds,  Even if we had kept [Coulibaly] I was always looking to bring another striker in, so I am in the market for a couple now."

Jan 21st on the Accies (Cup) Post-Match:  “We’ve gone out with a whimper and we’ve made bad decisions at the back and weren’t good enough in the final third. I played five new lads and I thought Freddie Woodburn played well in goals and Kristoffer Ajer was different class. Sean Longstaff displayed good moments. Karleigh Osborne has made a couple of mistakes at the back for the goal. But we won together and we lose together. I think too much has been made and fingers pointed at the boys who’ve just arrived through the door.  We’ve just lost a Cup tie to a last-minute penalty and that hurts.  But, overall, we need more from our forward players and our crosses need to be better. We need to create more and stop hitting the first man from cross balls.  So, we need to improve our mentality and do things better during the 90 minutes of competitive action. We are now out of the Cup and we need to concentrate on doing as best we can in the League. We’ll keep working hard with the players and we hope to see an improvement.”  - Match Report

Jan 20th on the Accies (Cup) Pre-Match: “I’m looking forward to it. Obviously it’s my first time involved because when I got here last season the team were playing in the replay against Rangers.  So I’m really excited by it. As I say all the time, when you’re competing in cup competitions, there’s a great prize at the end of it with a Hampden final and a place in Europe if you win.  We want to progress in this competition and the only thing you hope for is a home draw which we’ve got.  We have to make that advantage count but it won’t be easy against a Hamilton team we’ve played twice already this season, with both games being extremely tight.  We’re refreshed, we’ve had a good break and the players have a good mix of rest and work. So hopefully they’ll be firing on all cylinders come the game. “There’s a bit of sentimental value. You’ve got to embrace the history of the club.  This is quite unique in terms of 20 years since the club had such a fantastic year. The supporters, players and staff from that time will remember the day forever.  We want to try to create our own bit of history one step at a time, starting on Saturday. 

The winter break was important for me. I’m just starting to get the players back now. It’s been important for me to get the players who were injured back safely. I’m hopeful that we don’t have the same sort of luck that we had going into the last four games. When you include Greg Kiltie, I was missing five of what would be considered my starting XI. We’ve added a few bodies and now we have strength in depth. That showed in the last few games that we were a little bit short in certain positions.”

Jan 18th 2017 On Coulibaly Transfer Interest: “Officially, we haven’t had a bid yet. There has been plenty of interest, but we haven’t had an official offer for Souleymane as we speak.  I don’t know what figure the board has put on his head in terms of what would be acceptable but I advised that, because it is January, you should stick a premium on top of that figure.  Hopefully they will take my advice on board and we can go from there. As a manager, I have put potential possibilities in place if Souleymane was to leave.  Myself and the board will discuss whether the risk is bigger than the reward or the other way around? Do we have replacements there?  That is why there has to be a premium on top of whatever the valuation is.  It means we keep the club going and I would like to see some of it re-invested in the squad and the infrastructure of the club.”

Jan 12th 2017 on Signing 3 Toon Youngsters on Loan: “These boys (Toon trio of Cal Roberts, Freddie Woodman and Sean Longstaff) will not be the only players I bring into the club this January. I am working on another few deals.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that we need centre-backs – and experienced ones at that. But we are hopeful Scott Boyd and Miles Addison will return soon. Scott will get 45 minutes against Newcastle and will be a good addition as I need natural centre-halves within the group. He will be available for the cup tie with Hamilton but Miles will be about a week later. We are actively in the market looking to pursue one or two players. Some are quite far down the line but the deals are not done yet so I don’t want to say too much about them.”

Clark on his three trialists (in the Gateshead game):  "They will be given a chance to prove they are worthy of a deal. Liam (Davies) is a player I had on trial when I was at Birmingham and since then he’s had a spell in Sweden so we’ll have a look. Andre (Bennett) is a right-back and a local lad so we’re also running the rule over him.
“Henrik (Breimyr) is a defensive midfielder. We had him a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t get clearance to let him to play in an Under-20s game and it is hard to make decisions without seeing guys play. They will get another chance against Newcastle and we will have an in-house match at Rugby Park on Saturday so they will get plenty of time and chances to impress.
“I’ll make my mind up on them over the weekend as you have to be fair to the players. You can’t keep them hanging on, they need to know if they are getting a deal or have to look elsewhere.”

“We will further our relationship with Newcastle when we take them on as I really want to forge links with the bigger clubs.  For a club of our stature we need to be able to bring in quality loan players from these teams. Freddie was accomplished in goal and Sean had an energetic midfield performance against Gateshead and you can see what Cal brings to the team – he can make and score goals. He took his goal very well but the three of them are still settling in as they have only been here for two or three days. They are just getting to know the group so they will only improve.”

Lee Clark's Comment's From : June-July - August - September - October - November -


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