Kilmarnock: Youssouf Mulumbu not expected back, says manager Steve Clarke

Youssouf Mulumbu in action for Kilmarnock
Youssouf Mulumbu made 20 appearances for Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock have ruled out a return to Rugby Park for influential midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, according to manager Steve Clarke.

The 31-year-old impressed last season after signing in November following his release by Norwich City but has only signed a short-term contract.

"Youssouf's gone," Clarke said. "We certainly don't expect him back.

"I think he's in conversation, or his agent's in conversation, with various different clubs."

Kilmarnock have so far only added two new faces - teenage forward Mikael Ndjoli on loan from Bournemouth and right-back Ross Millen, who had left Queen's Park after their relegation from League One.

Stuart Findlay has returned after the defender's move from Newcastle United was made permanent following last season's loan, but Clarke was not expecting to see former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Mulumbu back in Killie colours.

"That's not one we're looking at at this moment in time," the manager told BBC Scotland after a 0-0 draw with St Mirren in the first Scottish League Cup game of the new season.

"We are looking at the market. Obviously it's a difficult market when you don't have too much left in your budget, so we have to be clever.

"We tied up a lot of the boys on long contracts here because we feel they deserve a chance to go again this season.

"That game tonight is just another step on the way to what we hope will be another good season."

Kilmarnock finished fifth last season under Clarke, who was appointed in October, but they struggled to contain promoted Championship winners St Mirren.

Kilmarnock players are left dejected by the penalty shoot-out
Kilmarnock players were left dejected by the penalty shoot-out defeat

Indeed, the side now managed by Alan Stubbs, who took over from Sunderland-bound Jack Ross, won the penalty shoot-out to take the extra point in Group H.

"The penalties, we practised them yesterday and, to be honest, they were even worse yesterday, so it was a step forward tonight," Clarke joked.

"It is something we're going to have to work on - psychologically you've got to be better in a penalty shoot-out.

"Obviously it means that St Mirren look favourites to win the group, but we have to make sure that we win the next three games.

"We've put ourselves under a little bit of pressure to pick up nine points and hopefully that'll be enough to see us through."

League One outfit Dumbarton, League Two's Queen's Park and Lowland League Spartans are the other sides in the group and Clarke said he was "reasonably happy" to take a point.

"Good game, I thought it was quite open, a good workout for us, probably a good workout for them as well," he added.

"Chances for both teams. They had moments when they had control of the game. We had moments when we looked as though we had control.

"A draw was probably a fair result. Similar amount of shots on target."