Tommy Wright is looking to inspire some self-belief into his misfiring Kilmarnock side when he takes them to equally shot-shy Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership this weekend.
The former St Johnstone boss took over at Rugby Park last week and while there were positive signs as he oversaw 1-0 defeats to Motherwell and Rangers, he could not stop Killie from extending their losing run to seven games.
They have scored in just one of those matches and while Wright is hopeful that the addition of experienced frontman Kyle Lafferty can bring goals, he is also looking to get the rest of the squad sharpened up in front of goal.
“I’ve learned that there is a lot of quality in the squad,” he said. “The level of confidence has been good considering the run that they’re on.
“I’ve also learned that they are a wee bit, maybe, fragile at the top end of the pitch where there hasn’t been enough end product. I think there’s maybe a wee bit of a lack of self-belief in terms of making things happen in the final third, being a wee bit more reactive rather than proactive.
“That’s something we’ve tried to work on, particularly this week having a full week’s training to work with them.
“We’ve had two decent performances but not two positive results in the last couple of games so that is something we want to try and rectify.”
He added: “The reason we brought Lafferty in was to give us that more experience and quality up top.
“The Motherwell game was the best example, the number of positions we got into. The Rangers game was slightly different but even there we had a couple of opportunities first half where we took the wrong choice.
“It’s about being positive in that final third and it’s just a lack of self-belief because we’ve got ourselves into good positions in good areas of the pitch and haven’t been brave enough or positive enough in those situations.”
While Killie sit just one point off the bottom of the table, Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen sit fourth and are battling with Hibernian to be the best side in Scotland outside of the Old Firm.
The Dons have scoring problems of their own, however, having not found the back of the net in six games, and while Wright acknowledges they will be favourites, he is looking to make life difficult for the hosts at Pittodrie.
“They’re always in the firing line because of the expectation level which they have created with the success that they’ve had and it can happen to any team,” he said. “Let’s hope it continues again for another game.
“Irrespective of the fact that they haven’t scored, they will certainly be the favourites for the game but we go there believing that we can make it more difficult for them, create more difficulties for them and try and get the three points.”
Wright also gave an update on the future of defender Stuart Findlay, describing the situation over a potential move to MLS side Philadelphia Union as “ongoing”.