Gauntlet Laid Down
Updated Friday, 28th March 2008
Kilmarnock have missed out on a top six finish due to their poor away points tally and Jim Jeffries wants to improve things before the end of the season
Kilmarnock need to get some points away from home to balance out their decent home form to get a smile out of manager Jim Jefferies before the end of May. The Rugby Park side have just notched up three home wins, over Aberdeen, St Mirren and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but have not won away in the SPL since they beat Gretna in September last year. Jeffries is setting his players a new target now that the chance of a top six finish is now beyond his side. With Jefferies looking towards next season and the challenges that will bring, he wants his side to have an impressive finish to this campaign. The Rugby Park outfit have not won back-to-back games in the SPL since August 2007, and following their fine 4-1 win over Inverness, Jefferies insists they need to build when they travel to top-six hopefuls Falkirk on Saturday.
Jefferies said: "We've not won away from home for a while, even though we played well at Hibs, so we need to try to get an away win. I still think we can finish a few places higher. After the split we still have five games and even the team in seventh place are only seven points above us. So that gives you something to go for. Our immediate priority to win the next game and if results go our way then we could move up another place as Inverness play Aberdeen. We've not won away from home for a long time, Gretna was the last time. There was a spell when we couldn't win at home but we've put that right with three successive home wins. So now we need to take it on and get a couple of away wins between now and the end of the season. You can see the confidence return even against Hibs where we played well but didn't take our chances."
While Killie have missed out on the top half this season, Jefferies is still interested in which teams do make it. He would be pleased to see Falkirk's John Hughes, who played under him at Berwick and Falkirk, steer his men to sixth place or better. Jeffries said: "If Falkirk can achieve the top six over the next couple of games then I'll be delighted for them as it'll be a feather in their cap. For a club like Falkirk or ourselves to get into the top half is always the target and we've achieved that the last couple of years finishing fifth. If you get in there then it's a terrific achievement and a good reward for being fairly consistent."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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