Stuart Kettlewell gives Motherwell injury latest as striker development comes with 'incredible' stat

Stuart Kettlewell has provided the latest on his starsStuart Kettlewell has provided the latest on his stars
Stuart Kettlewell has provided the latest on his stars | SNS Group
Motherwell achieved victory in their final pre-season match.

Stuart Kettlewell opted for caution with some Motherwell stars in a friendly win over Linlithgow Rose - as he puts the onus on youth players to stake a claim.

A 4-2 win over the Lowland League side brought an end to pre-season preparations ahead of the Premier Sports Cup group stage kicking off against Edinburgh City on Saturday. Kettlewell fielded a batch of youngsters like Dylan Wells, Ewan Wilson, Mark Ferrie and Brannan McDermott during the victory in West Lothian.

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That came amid injuries and niggles affecting part of his squad, as he opted to protect some players ahead of competitive action beginning. The one serious blow concerns new right-back Johnny Koutroumbis, but Kettlewell is hopeful of swift returns for others, while he set a challenge for young players.

He told the Motherwell Times: “There were a few injuries and concerns. On Saturday (vs Livingston) we had what we would class as six first team players who would without question be in our thoughts. That increased a little bit, I think we had seven or eight who were missing from that first team group. One or two were slight concerns and just protecting them for the competitive stuff starting.

“Johnny Koutroumbis is the more sinister one with his calf. Everything else is just trying to tidy up and get as many guys as we can back on the park within the next week. If I do that, then I know we have reasonable strength in depth. We still want a little bit more business in the window.

“You can see a lot of young lads got opportunities tonight and some of them shone within that, some real good traits which is positive. A lot of good signs for one or two of the young lads. We have a plan for them and we understand where we want them to go this season and how we want to get there.

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“Then it is on them how well they do not just in pre-season but beyond, and that will dictate how much they get into my thought process. We have six development players there who have been involved in everything through pre-season and very much shone in stages of that pre-season.”

One player who has caught the eye in pre-season is Moses Ebiye. The striker arrived at the club in the second half of last season and netted twice, but has now scored in four pre-season games Motherwell have played. After scoring a double vs Linlithgow Rose, Kettlewell explained the forward’s development.

He said: “We have seen a continued development and improvement in Moses. A big change in his life coming over to Scotland and we managed to get a few months of trying to integrate him into the group. He understands and knows where the back of the net is.

“His first finish is incredible. That coupled with the different types of goals he’s scored, the second one the composure when he chops in, scored from the halfway line this pre-season. He’s shown us different facets of the game. When we break it down, his conversion rate is incredible. It’s good for his confidence.

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“He’s a lad so receptive to trying to improve and buying into what we are as a football club. His fitness levels are now way ahead of where they were when he first came through the door. Once he starts to become comfortable, we knew we had a good player and a finisher on our hands, and I think he is starting to show that.

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