ANGELO Alessio claims only one thing has taken him by surprise during his two months of being manager of Kilmarnock.

And that is the lack of players he’s had to work with on day one, a problem which bothers him to this day.

The Italian is still looking to make four signings, and that’s with the wanted Stephen O’Donnell staying, between now and the end of August. It’s clear he didn’t expect to be so busy in the transfer market.

He admitted: “There is the one thing that we start the season without a lot of players and this is a surprise for me. We start at the beginning with 18 or 20 players. This is the only surprise.”

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Striker Liam Miller has returned for his second loan move from Liverpool, and with the signing Belgian under-21 international, and another attacking player, Florian Vanzo imminent, the 25-year-old who had spells with Parma and Brugge should be confirmed today. So, Alessio is getting there.

He said: “I think when the market finishes in England we will have more opportunities to take players.

“It is important to get the right players but at this stage there are a lot of players.

“I think we need a striker. I think we need another midfielder and a winger and a centre-back. At the minute we have only Alex Bruce at centre-back so we need another. I still think three or four players.

“This situation was the same last season, I think. We can take players on loan.

“For some players it is difficult to take them. For example, a striker is difficult to get for many reasons.

“It was the same situation last season. For some players it is impossible to have, for some players there is a chance.”

The Italian market is where Allesio would hope to pick up some bargains and it hasn’t been for the want of trying.

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He admitted: “It is not simple. There are possibilities to come but it is another Championship and another country and it is different. I have tried to take some Italian players but at the minute it is difficult.”

On O’Donnell, talks will continue with the right-back who has attracted the interest of Celtic.

Alessio revealed: “I have spoken with him and I will be happy if he signs a new contract with the club. He is a good players for me and for the club. He is young and is a good right-back but at the moment we are only talking between the club and his agent.”

Given there is much work to be done, it’s a nonsense to judge how Kilmarnock will go. Their performance against Rangers showed that a lot of the qualities from last season were still there.

Just as long as they don’t have to play a part-time Welsh team again!

Alessio said: “I’m happy with how we played but we have to continue this way.

“We prepared in the right way. There were difficulties in the first-half but in the second half we changed things and played better, played faster. We had more pressure.”

Kilmarnock go to Hamilton on Saturday. Their manager could do with a win, almost as much as a few more players. There is a lot of work to be done.