Football: Sturrock's test of strength

SCOTTISH PREVIEW
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The Independent Online
THE DUNDEE UNITED manager, Paul Sturrock, will use a testing examination at Kilmarnock today to learn if his players are ready for a sustained bid at claiming a European place. The Tannadice outfit have risen to third in the Scottish Premier League and will earn a Uefa Cup place next season if they retain that position behind the Old Firm until the end of the season.

Sturrock believes the visit to Rugby Park against a Kilmarnock side badly short of form is the kind of game any team with European aspirations should be looking for maximum points from.

"Our results in the last few seasons against Kilmarnock have been abysmal," he said. "They know how to play against us and we need to find a way to combat that. We know it won't be easy, however, because Kilmarnock will be biting and scratching for points because of where they are in the table."

The Kilmarnock manager, Bobby Williamson, was able to use most of his squad in last Thursday's 1-1 draw with Everton for Ally Mitchell's testimonial and wants the sharpness shown that night repeated.

"It was a great work-out for everyone against Everton," he said. "We need to start winning again on regularly and I want to start sooner rather than later."

Elsewhere, Dundee aim to continue their recent fine run when they play host to Motherwell, but the Dens Park manager, Jocky Scott, admits he may change a winning side.

"There is a temptation to keep the same team, but I'm still looking at my options to work out the best team to play against Motherwell in particular," he said. "We have an opportunity to really move up the table if we manage a third consecutive league victory."

Motherwell's reserve goalkeeper, Stevie Woods, will again start at Dens Park and is relishing his chance with first-choice Andy Goram still sidelined with a calf strain: "It's up to me to show what I can do when. It's working with Andy in training which has made me a better player and I want to demonstrate that now."

n The Helsingborgs striker Arild Stavrum has signed a two-year deal with Aberdeen.

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