Derek McInnes says Kilmarnock will focus on permanent deals over loans as Russ Richardson gets to work

Derek McInnes insists the focus will be on getting permanent players in rather than relying on loans.

The Kilmarnock boss is determined to use the loan market to complement his squad rather than fill it.

And now that Scottish Premiership safety is secured, McInnes and head of recruitment Russ Richardson are already hard at work shaping next season’s squad with Robbie Deas the first new face in the building.

McInnes said: “There is no doubting we would not have got the two signings we got in January in Luke Chambers and Kyle Vassell.

“We wanted to make a couple more, but we would not have got either without Russ.

“He is someone I have always leaned heavily on and I’ll just be leaning a wee bit more heavy on him over the next few weeks.

“We are under a bit of pressure with that, but it’s a good pressure I think to get a lot of new players in.

“There will be contracts out rather than just loans. Last season it was all loans. We didn’t give out any longer term contracts because we needed to do the work.

Robbie Deas signs with Kilmarnock
Robbie Deas signs with Kilmarnock

“So, hopefully, this time around, there will still be an element of the squad made up with some loans, but it won’t be to the same extent. It’s never healthy for any club to have eight and nine loans.

“Ideally, we’ll limit that to two or three and get players on two- and three-year contracts who are Kilmarnock players.

“We’ve tapped into a few and we will try and source those from outwith.

“Work is already ongoing. Obviously, a lot of those conversations were halted because agents and players want to know you are a Premier League club before you continue those conversations. It’s just trying to accelerate that.”

McInnes reckons Richardson will thrive having a clean slate to work with after 15 players departed Rugby Park.

The gaffer said: “When I took the job on last January I saw how many players there were, we just had to deal with that.

“It has to be said from last season, there has to be an acknowledgement of the players’ work, they’ve done so well to win a title and it’s never easy coming straight back up, they deserve so much recognition.

“We had to stay in the league, there was a lot of dark days, a lot of disappointment, but underneath it all we thought we had enough to stay up.

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“Winning five of our last nine games helped and we started scoring more goals meaning we got the job done.

“Now it changes, every manager leans on their recruitment team and I’m no different.

“Tactics are one thing, managers all have an understanding of that, how you deal with players is a huge part of success, but if you can work with good players and have the right balance in your squad then for me that’s the biggest indicator if you’re going to have a good season or not.

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Daily Record – Ayrshire Live