MOTHERWELL manager Craig Brown believes his side will be up against the best footballing team in the country when they host Kilmarnock on Saturday.
Brown took in Kilmarnock’s match against Aberdeen at Rugby Park last weekend and was hugely impressed by Mixu Paatelainen’s side.
Many people tipped the Ayrshire outfit for relegation at the beginning of the season but currently they are sitting in the top six, just three points behind the Steelmen.
A win for Killie at Fir Park will see them leapfrog Well on goal difference and Brown will not be underestimating them after their fortunate 1-0 away win back in August.
“They are the best footballing team I have seen playing in the SPL this season,” he said.
“They have a good system that works with two holding midfielders and three in front of them.
“Alexei Eremenko is their best player; he has been excellent.
“And Conor Sammon has done superbly up front.
“We think Nick Blackman has done well getting 10 goals but he has got 14 already.”
He continued: “You have to give them great credit for the way they go about their football – and it’s winning football, which is great.
“They like to pass the ball from the back and throughout the team.
“They have a good manager and good players. I never thought they would be relegation candidates.
“Against Aberdeen they were in complete control.”
The adverse weather conditions forced the postponement of Motherwell’s home match with Hearts last weekend.
Despite early forecasts predicting the snow to stop before this weekend, temperatures are expected to drop well below freezing by Friday, putting the Kilmarnock game at risk also.
However, Brown insists his first-team squad will be training this week in the belief Saturday’s match will go ahead.
The former Scotland boss said: “We were training at Ravenscraig Sports Centre earlier this week but may go to Toryglen on Wednesday.
“We will try and get outside on Thursday and Friday at Dalziel Park.
“We have covers down at Dalziel Park.
“Last week, we did the same and the grass was absolutely fine.”
He added: “The boys were able to get a good session in last Saturday morning so it was disappointing when the Hearts game was called off.
“We wanted to bounce back after last week’s draw at St Mirren and the visit of Hearts got everyone excited.
“We lost the previous game to Hibs and now having the Hearts game called off has stopped our momentum.
“I really hope the Kilmarnock game beats the weather.”
Motherwell have no injury concerns and Keith Lasley is now fully fit having been out of action since October.
Meanwhile, Brown has confirmed that the club has started negotiations with on-loan Blackburn Rovers striker Nick Blackman.
The forward has been in stunning form for Motherwell since joining in the summer, netting 10 SPL goals already, and the gaffer is desperate to secure his services until the end of the season.
He said: “We are aware Nick’s form is creating interest and to that end I have tried to move things on with Sam Allardyce. He has promised to try and get the situation sorted as soon as he can.”
Motherwell also face the possibility of losing Alan Gow in January when his short-term contract expires and Brown is still hoping to keep the front man saying: “Obviously, at a club like Motherwell, we have to work within our budgets but I would hope that we can retain Alan until the end of the season and I will do as much as I possibly can to do that.”
“Alan can play in a number of positions and his versatility is a big plus.
“He has already chipped in with a couple of goals and I am sure there are more to come from him.”