Kilmarnock v Dundee United
Sat 22nd Jan
Having only just edged past Ross County on penalties in the Scottish Cup in midweek, the holders of that competition Dundee United are back in league action this weekend with games and more importantly points to make up on fourth-placed Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. The visitors are currently three places lower in the table than their opponents and trail them by seven points but with four games in hand.
"Dundee United are a very good team who have gelled together over time," Kilmarnock manager Mixu Paatelainen told BBC Scotland. "They might have some injuries at the back but they have a very strong midfield, offensively and defensively, and they have good strikers so Saturday will be really difficult for us."
"Dusan [Pernis] might make it but he`s not trained properly," Dundee United manager Peter Houston told The Press and Journal "With the way he has played this season you`d want him in the team but we have Stevie Banks ready to come in if he doesn`t make it. It`s great to have someone of Stevie`s experience. He`s here as goalkeeper coach as well but he showed the other night against Ross County he`s still a top class keeper."
Kilmarnock Team News:
Leading scorer Conor Sammon could start for Kilmarnock after rejecting a £600,000 move to Scunthorpe United this week. Jamie Hamill returns from a two-match ban while Craig Bryson, James Dayton and Alan Combe are still out injured.
Kilmarnock (from): Bell, Clancy, Hay, Fowler, Mendes Silva, Wright, Sissoko, Hamill, Taouil, Berntsson, Pascali, Kelly, Eremenko, Rui Miguel, Sammon, Old, Jaakkola, Kennedy, Gross
Player to watch: Conor Sammon
Goalscorer admired by the managers of both clubs and also across the border.
Dundee United Team News:
Manager Peter Houston has doubts over goalkeeper Dusan Pernis, defender Garry Kenneth and striker Johnny Russell. Full-back Paul Dixon is already a confirmed casualty and Scott Severin and Darren Dods remained sidelined. Danny Swanson and Mihael Kovacevic are though back in training.
Dundee United (from): Pernis, Dillon, Watson, Douglas, S. Robertson, D. Robertson, Kenneth, Gomis, Buaben, Shala, Cadamarteri, Conway, Daly, Russell, Dow, Armstrong, Mentel, Banks, Goodwillie
Player to watch: Stevie Banks
Hero of the midway penalty shoot-out against Ross County and could be in action again.
Match Facts & Stats
Kilmarnock are without a victory in three games after defeats to Rangers and Hearts and a draw with St Johnstone. Dundee United squeezed past the challenge of Ross County in the Scottish Cup in midweek as they kept a third successive clean sheet. They were also victorious against Motherwell in their last league game, although that was actually their first win since November.
Kilmarnock - Hamilton (A); Dundee United - St Mirren (A)