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Kilmarnock looking 'fit and strong'  ahead of Premiership return

Last season's Championship winners drew 2-2 with Lincoln Red Imps on Tuesday.

Derek McInnes says Kilmarnock looking ‘fit and strong’  ahead of Premiership return SNS Group
McInnes: Confident ahead of Premiership return.

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes has praised the early pre-season fitness of his squad ahead of their Premiership return next month.

The former Aberdeen boss helped make sure the Rugby Park side would return to the top flight at the first time of asking by winning last season’s Championship.

Despite still being more than four weeks away from hosting Dundee United in their first league game of the season, competitive football will return for Kilmarnock, and every team outside the last season’s Premiership top five, when the league cup group stage kicks off .

And McInnes, who has been impressed by the early signs, believes they will be ready to hit the ground running by the time they travel to play Fraserburgh on July 9.

Following a friendly draw in Spain against Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red on Tuesday the manager told the club’s official website: “That’s three games in a row we have played and we have finished the game strong.

“I think that is testament to the boys’ fitness, we looked fit and strong.

“What we need to do is be more explosive, get sharper with our work and just tighten things up, but by and large got to be pleased with the exercise.”

Goals from Lee Hodson and Steven Warnock helped seal a 2-2 draw in the Ayrshire side’s third pre-season match and they will play Charlton Athletic on Friday morning.

McIness continued: “We were conscious of what the temperature was going to be last night, we are conscious that we had a double session on Monday as well.

“It is trying to get that balance between looking for better performances, individually and also as a team, but also mindful of the fact that we are still pre-season and there’s a fitness element.

“We have another game on Friday, an early kick-off against Charlton and that will test us again.

“We need to get sharper, we need to get more additions to the squad, clearly, we need to get some of the boys who are injured back onto the pitch and hopefully, potentially, Alan Power, Rory McKenzie back for Friday.”