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I'm so glad Lafferty's Romanian move fell through, admits Kilmarnock chief Wright after striker's treble

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New colours: Kyle Lafferty is unveiled as a Kilmarnock player

New colours: Kyle Lafferty is unveiled as a Kilmarnock player

New colours: Kyle Lafferty is unveiled as a Kilmarnock player

Kilmarnock manager Tommy Wright admitted Sepsi's loss has very much been his gain after seeing Kyle Lafferty net a hat-trick against Dundee United on Wednesday.

The Northern Ireland striker has been in sensational form at Rugby Park and is almost single-handedly leading Killie away from relegation in the Scottish Premiership.

Lafferty has smashed in nine goals in eight games for Kilmarnock since joining in February, with his midweek treble the club's first since Paul Heffernan notched three against Hearts in 2013.

However, it almost never came to pass as Lafferty was on the verge of joining Romanian side Sepsi only days before moving back to Scotland following his release by Reggina in Italy.

But the move fell through due to "details" the two parties couldn't agree on, and instead the Kesh man agreed to link up with Wright at Kilmarnock, and so far it couldn't have worked better.

“I would say it was a no-brainer signing Kyle and I’m just happy that his move to Romania fell through at that time,” said Wright.

“The Kilmarnock board also deserves a lot of credit because after the Romania move fell through, they acted quickly and made sure it happened.

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“I didn’t have to ask twice, they went away and got the business done and they deserve a lot of credit for that. I’m delighted he’s here.”

Lafferty's contract only runs until the end of the season and the big man up front hasn't been adverse to moving around having played for 13 different clubs in his career across Europe.

But Wright is hopeful that the Northern Irishman won't be tempted away from Rugby Park at the end of the season and that they can convince him to pen his long-term future to the club.

With Wednesday's victory moving Kilmarnock five points clear of bottom club Hamilton Academical and two points above play-off side Ross County, Wright believes top-flight football could be the key in making a deal happen.

“I told Kyle when he came here that this could be somewhere he plays for the next two or three seasons,” Wright told BBC Scotland.

“He wants to be based in Scotland so hopefully we get enough points to stay in the Premiership and we can look at tying him down for a bit longer.

“Do I sense he has found a natural home here? I do, and I think the relationship I have with him - I’ve known him a long time - can help in that, hopefully.

“But I’m also realistic enough to know that if he keeps scoring goals, bigger clubs with bigger budgets might come in for him.

“I do know one thing, if we stay up, the club will do everything we can to keep him.”


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