Kilmarnock boss Gary Locke targets top six & longer stay

Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke with his players in training
Locke oversees training in preparation for Saturday's match

Gary Locke admits he would feel "hard done by" if leading Kilmarnock to a top-six finish did not lead to an extended stay as manager.

The 39-year-old has been put in charge of the first team following the departure of Allan Johnston.

"There will be a lot of people who will put themselves forward for the job," said Locke, whose side are eighth in the Scottish Premiership.

"I know I need to win games if I'm to have any chance of keeping it."

And the former Hearts manager added: "Would a top-six place guarantee me the job? I've not thought that far ahead to be honest.

"If I did put the club in the top six and didn't get the job I'd probably feel hard done by. But that's for another day.

"When you look at where we are in the table, we know we have still got a chance of the top six, so we have to aim for that.

Kilmarnock's pre-split Premiership fixtures
Kilmarnock v Dundee Utd (Sat)Inverness v Kilmarnock (21 Feb)
St Johnstone v Kilmarnock (28 Feb)Motherwell v Kilmarnock (7 Mar)
Kilmarnock v St Mirren (14 Mar)Ross County v Kilmarnock (21 Mar)
Kilmarnock v Motherwell (4 Apr)Kilmarnock v Aberdeen ( 12 Apr)
Celtic v Kilmarnock (TBC)

"But the most important thing is that we don't get dragged into the relegation issue."

Johnston announced his intention to leave last Thursday, after midfielder Robbie Muirhead was sold to Dundee United on transfer deadline day.

And, the following day, Johnston was relieved of his duties and Locke was promoted from his assistant role in time for Saturday's 0-0 draw against Hamilton Academical.

Locke has since stated he has Johnston's backing to pursue the job on a longer-term basis.

And, with Killie currently without injured forwards Lee Miller and Michael Ngoo, Locke is assessing signing targets.

"I've been trying to work on bringing in some free agents in the last couple of days," added Locke ahead of Saturday's home match against United.

"But we've got to understand that financially, the club has just managed to get debt free and we don't want to end up in trouble again.

"That was one of the reasons Robbie had to go, because the club needed the money. Sometime you just have to accept things.

"The board have said that they will try their best and that's all you can ask."

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