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'Dream team' will thrill supporters

ROUGHLY a year ago, Kilmarnock fans were waiting with baited breath for a returning hero.

Alexei Eremenko has signed until the end of the season. Picture: SNS
Alexei Eremenko has signed until the end of the season. Picture: SNS

It was Kris Boyd, then, who had signed until the end of the season before starting to hit top form at the beginning of this one.

Now, it is Alexei Eremenko's turn to rock up again at Rugby Park. Don't be surprised if this time next year Freddie Dindeleux is pulling on the blue and whites stripes again.

Eremenko is also tied up until the end of the season, but rather than steal the spotlight from Boyd - or pre-empt a worrying transfer for the striker - the Finnish playmaker is sure he can create even more goals for the Scotland internationalist.

"I don't think I played against Kris when he was at Rangers the last time I was here," the 30-year-old said. "But I watched Saturday's game with Inverness and I think I can make him score even more goals."

Eremenko spent the 2010-11 season at Rugby Park, and made such an impact that he was nominated for the Professional Footballers Association Scotland player of the year award.

The 59-time-capped Finn rejoins Kilmarnock following spells with Russia's Rubin Kazan and more recently FC Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan. He has not played since the end of the Kazakh season in November, though, and he also spent seven months on the sidelines with a knee injury during his stay in Russia.

It will take time to find full fitness but Eremenko cannot wait to get started. "I need to work hard to get my fitness back and, hopefully, I should be back fit for the Dundee United game in two-and-a-half weeks," he said. "It feels great to be back at Kilmarnock.

"When I left the club, I told the club secretary Kirsten Callaghan that I would be back one day but I didn't expect to be back so soon. I was gone for three years but my memories of playing here were always with me.

"The first time I was here was one of the best spells in my career and that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back."

Boyd, on the other hand, has reportedly attracted interest from Sky Bet Championship side Blackpool, who now have his former Ibrox team-mate Barry Ferguson in charge.

But chairman Michael Johnston insists he wants to see the striker and Eremenko link up at Rugby Park.

"A bid for Kris is not something that we would welcome," Johnston insisted. "Indeed we would hope Kris would be here for the long term. He is only signed until the end of this season but it is our wish he would stay on beyond that.

"It's not part of our planning that Kris will be leaving. He is very settled with the club. The dream team of Alexei and Kris is what we are looking forward to seeing on the pitch."

Allan Johnston, the club's manager, was unsure whether Eremenko was ready to play a part against Neil Lennon's runaway SPFL Premiership leaders in Glasgow this evening but he hopes to have him fit and available as soon as possible.

"He will give us another dimension going forward," Johnston said. "As long as we get him up to match speed his quality should start to count."

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