DAILY RECORD 🔵 Brad Lyons set for Kilmarnock return to boost Derek McInnes’ Euro charge – Shango Media

DAILY RECORD 🔵 Brad Lyons set for Kilmarnock return to boost Derek McInnes’ Euro charge

Derek McInnes reckons respected Brad Lyons can chase more recognition beyond Rugby Park having completed the long road back to run out at it.

The midfielder is back in the Kilmarnock set-up for Saturday’s clash at home to Ross County after an agonising three months stuck on the sidelines. Lyons has not featured for McInnes since sustaining a knee injury against Dundee on the penultimate day of 2023, which forced him to get surgery. It was a devastating setback for a 26-year-old savouring a superb campaign, which saw him secure a senior debut for Northern Ireland in Euro 2024 qualifying.

But Lyons has been back training and is now due for a comeback to the teamsheet as Killie look to build on their two-point cushion in fourth. McInnes is delighted and reckons, as well as boosting Killie, his key man can push for more international honours under Michael O’Neill too. He said: “Brad’s a great option for us to have and a great boy to have around.

“He’s trained well this week, he’s been very supportive of the team whenever he’s been out and just been a really good team-mate. He got his first cap for Northern Ireland not so long ago and hopefully that whets the appetite for him to get a few more.

“Michael is aware of all the options that he has. But Brad is someone who breaks the play up, he turns the ball over and he goes beyond strikers. He can play a few positions and his fitness is a huge attribute for him.

“He’s not unlike the boy Ali McCann, whom they took from St Johnstone, in terms of getting about his work, making contact with people and using the ball well and simply. There’s a place for someone like that and Brad certainly did himself no harm when he was away with Northern Ireland. Obviously Michael is aware of him. And if he is playing in our team on a regular basis, that can only help his case.”

Lyons’ first focus, of course, is on making a successful return for his club after McInnes has been unable to call upon the player for Killie’s past 13 matches. His squad have coped brilliantly in Lyons’ absence, with talents such as Rory McKenzie, Liam Polworth, Liam Donnelly and David Watson doing excellent work to offset the loss of not just Lyons but fellow midfielder Kyle Magennis.

Rugby Park boss McInnes said: “Brad was doing terrifically well when he went out of the team. He fills a few positions for us but he made that central midfield position his own.

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes

“He was a big influence on the team, as he was at the back end of last season. He has had this wee knee niggle for a while, probably since my time here, and it got to the stage where, with the incident of the challenge, we just had to get it dealt with.

“That meant a significant op – he’s been out for three months. But to get him back before the split was always the target and to get him back at this stage of the season is brilliant. He’s a really good option. He fills a few positions.”

Saturday will mark the second last game before the split, with McInnes’ side already having secured their spot in the top half of the table for the run-in. Lyons has been desperate for a return, with Europe now the next feat there to be grabbed.

However, McInnes admits the management didn’t have to rein the midfielder in. “Not really,” he said. “We always worked to the timescale that he would get back for the St Johnstone game next week.

“And, in an ideal world, if everything went well and there were no real setbacks, then he could be available for this game on Saturday… and he is. Obviously, he has been out for a long time and we are mindful of that.

“But he has trained brilliantly this week. You wouldn’t know he has been out for that long.”

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