Kilmarnock: Steve Clarke not planning major squad surgery in January

Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke has been happy with the performances of his Kilmarnock side since taking over

Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke will only make major changes to his squad if his players dip below recent standards.

The Rugby Park side have only lost two of Clarke's 10 matches in charge since he took over in October.

"I don't plan on making too many changes because the squad I've had have worked very well for me and I've picked up a lot of points," he said.

"If they continue to do that in the next three games, the need for so many changes would be less."

Clarke has already drafted in former West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, who was a free agent, but says he would be "very surprised" if Sebastien Bassong joined the club.

The former Newcastle, Norwich City and Tottenham centre-back trained with the Rugby Park men while visiting his friend Mulumbu.

Sebastien Bassong
Defender Bassong trained with Kilmarnock while visiting his friend Mulumbu

While Clarke does not expect to make wholesale changes to his squad when the January transfer window opens, he added: "Circumstances can change. I don't know if anybody's going to come and take any of my players.

"I don't know if any player is going to become available that I think will improve our squad."

Kilmarnock host Rangers on Saturday, with the Ayrshire outfit unbeaten in four games and having won their last two home matches, after failing to record a win in their previous eight league games at Rugby Park this season.

Clarke's side earned a 1-1 draw at Ibrox in October, a result that led to the departure of former Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha.

"The players are confident," Clarke said. "We've been on a decent run. It's a good match to look forward to.

"It's nice to win the last two home games. It puts to bed a little bit 'we can't play here, we can't win here'. We'll aim to continue that at the weekend.

"Their [Rangers'] recent results against Aberdeen tell you how good they can be on their day. We have to be wary of them and certainly treat them with respect but not respect them too much."

Chris Burke
Chris Burke scored a late goal to earn Killie a draw against Rangers in October

Kilmarnock currently lie in eighth place, eight points above bottom side Partick Thistle and six above 11th-placed Ross County.

Having beaten Hearts away last month and earned draws at both Rangers and Celtic in October, Clarke is convinced his side are capable of achieving another significant result.

"Is it a game we can win? Yes," he added. "Is it a game we have to play very well to win? Yes. If we can play to our maximum, then yes we're more than capable of winning the game.

"For me (the aim) when I came to the club was to get away from the bottom of the table; that's still the focus. It would be wrong of us to take our eye off the main goal, which is to get away from the bottom and try and make life after the winter break a little more comfortable."

Clarke also sent his best wishes to former Kilmarnock manager Bobby Williamson, who is undergoing cancer treatment after having a tumour removed from his nasal cavity.

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