Stuart Kettlewell expecting the unexpected against survival-chasing Dundee Utd

Stuart Kettlewell is preparing for all eventualities (Steve Welsh/PA)
Stuart Kettlewell is preparing for all eventualities (Steve Welsh/PA)

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell expects the unexpected as Dundee United travel to Fir Park needing goals galore to avoid the drop.

United must win at Fir Park and hope Kilmarnock beat Ross County while achieving an eight-goal swing against the Staggies to get off the bottom of the cinch Premiership.

Tannadice manager Jim Goodwin admits they would need a “minor miracle” which is all the more unlikely given United have lost four games in a row while Motherwell have only lost twice in 13 games under Kettlewell.

Nonetheless, the Well boss recognises the unusual circumstances make it harder to second-guess his opponent’s game plan.

“I have had a fair amount of thought about it since we all played on Wednesday, and it probably becomes a little bit unpredictable in terms of what Jim does with his team,” said Kettlewell, whose team are aiming to seal seventh spot.

“We just have to prepare as best we possibly can but we can probably all in this room have a stab at how they are going to set up, what they are going to do, and I don’t know if any of us would get it right.

“I don’t mean any disrespect in that, it’s just the situation they find themselves in.

“I think the one constant I would imagine, having played against Jim’s teams on more than one occasion, as long as there’s a chance they are going to be fighting and they are going to come here and try and win by a margin. We have to brace ourselves for that.

“I believe Dundee United players and staff will feel that they owe that to their supporters so that’s what we have to expect.

“It’s just important that we try to finish off the season with as best a performance as we can.

“Every single week we go out to win the game but it does become a slightly different situation to what we have faced in recent weeks.

“As much as teams have been fighting for their life, it almost gets to that point where you need an exact number of goals.

“So it can change the mentality a little bit but it’s my job to make sure it doesn’t change too much in our players’ approach and mindset.”