Jack Sanders admits that he loves life in Kilmarnock with Derek McInnes.
The centre-back was drafted into the starting line-up for their Scottish Cup loss against Dundee United after serving a two-match suspension.
The 22-year-old admits that he is learning a lot under the coach’s guidance and now hopes he can cement his place in the team.
He told Kilmarnock Standard: “I’m enjoying my time with the manager so far, obviously when he first came in I was suspended so I couldn’t take part in the first two games.
“I was hoping to be involved and luckily he put me up.
“Obviously I played towards the end when Tommy was here, hopefully now I can start, have a good run of games and hopefully get us promoted.
“I have been working hard in training, doing everything I can without playing.
“I think everyone is enjoying the change, it’s good, very good.
“I enjoyed working with the previous manager, Tommy, but now he is different, he has different ways of doing things, just like all managers.
“Everyone has different ways of training, but I’m enjoying it a lot with the coach, I’m learning and that’s the main thing, hopefully I can get ahead.
“I’m happy to adapt to whatever style or formation he wants to play, that’s what we’ve been working on in training.
“That’s the important thing for my game, if I can add different aspects, that’s the important thing for me.
“Different teams will challenge us in many different ways, if we can adapt that will be crucial.”
And he added: “I want to play, that’s the main thing, I want to help the team get promoted.
The Ayrshire Live app is available to download now.
Get all the local news in your area, plus features, football news and the latest on the coronavirus crisis, at your fingertips 24/7.
The free download features the latest news and exclusive stories, while you can customize your page with the sections that matter to you.
The Ayrshire Live app is available to download now on iOS and Android.
“I think when you play a series of games you feel better and things start to normalize.
“When you don’t play and you get pitched, it’s hard to do your best, but when you have a streak of games, you can really show what you can do, so if I keep doing the right things and get games under the Gaffer, then hopefully I can show what I can do.”
Sanders admits that it has been great to learn from the likes of Ash Taylor, Chris Stokes, Dylan McGowan and Euan Murray, all experienced defenders.
But he says that as much as he is learning from these players, he wants to be on the team before they are.
He said: “All the guys here, they’re all experienced guys, I’m a little bit the youngest of them.
“But I wouldn’t say I’m just a young lad, I’m 22 so it’s not too young, I want to play of course.
“I just want to keep learning from them and developing myself as a player.”
Killie is undefeated in 90 minutes since McInnes was named, and Sanders says it’s crucial to maintain that form heading into the business end of the season.
He said: “Maintaining good form is really important.
“I think the first away game in Queens was a good performance, it was a clean sheet.
“We went to Partick, we felt we could have played better but we got a draw which was fine.
“But on Saturday I thought there was a real energy in the team, there was a real hunger to win.
“Obviously the fans applauded us at the end for the effort, but the effort is not remembered when you don’t go to the next round.
“United won that day and that hurt us because we want to be winners every game, we have to make sure we are winners at the end of the season.”
Don’t miss the latest headlines from Ayrshire:sign up for our free daily newsletter here
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.