MOTHERWELL manager Stephen Robinson admits he has already started looking for a January replacement for Devante Cole as he has resigned himself to the striker returning to Wigan.

Robinson was keen to keep Cole at Fir Park for the remainder of the season, and he believes the player wants to stay too, but he doesn’t believe a deal can now be struck with his parent club.

Cole will likely play against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park today with Christy Manzinga definitely out with a hamstring injury and Chris Long a doubt too, but it may be one of the last times the Motherwell supporters see the forward in claret and amber.

“It looks like Devante will be going back to Wigan,” Robinson said.

“We are trying to negotiate something but as it stands Devante will be leaving us.

“We need to try and find a replacement for him. I think he would be keen to stay here.

“We have played him on the right a few times, but he just gets on with it. It isn’t his best position as he is better through the middle, but Chris Long has the jersey the last few games.

“He is someone I wanted to keep but ultimately he isn’t our player. If he goes, we will thank him, and he can show over the next three games how good he is.

“We have a few offers in for people. If I bring someone in it has to be someone better than what we have.

“I do think we need to bolster that end of the pitch. Christy Mazinga has tweaked his hamstring and is out again and Chris Long is a doubt for Kilmarnock.”

It feels to Robinson that almost every week at the moment he is coming up against a team that has just lost their manager, but even so, he says he was shocked to learn of Angelo Alessio’s departure from Kilmarnock with the Rugby Park side sitting fifth in the Premiership.

But while he isn’t a great believer in any new manager ‘bounce’ that Killie may have, he is wary of any team coached by interim boss Alex Dyer.

“It seems to be every time we play someone they have a new manager or they have just appointed someone,” he said.

“We played Hibs in Jack Ross’ first match in charge as well. It is a merry go round of football.

“The news came as a massive surprise. When you see another manager losing his job you always feel for them. This industry is ruthless at times.

“People forget we are human, they have family, emotions and finances to deal with, but in football you are someone who stands on the touchline and is either loved or ridiculed. I feel sorry for him.

“I don’t know what happened there but it didn’t look too bad from the outside being in fifth place. I think it proves no one is safe in football.

“I am in a lucky position, I have the support of the board and the fans have been good to me. We have a sense of realism at this club, there will be ups and downs here.

“As long as people see you are doing your best and trying to improve you will be okay, but you never know in football.

“I know Alex Dyer well and I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very good coach and he will have them organised.

“Killie are a hard team to break down and their record at home is very impressive. We will have to be at our best to break them down.”