Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes is happy to have a motivated Jordan Jones back at the club after a “heart-to-heart” with the Northern Ireland winger during his transfer limbo.
Jones was keen to return to parent club Wigan last month and McInnes sanctioned the move but was left frustrated at the timing as Shaun Maloney’s team only acted in the final hours of the transfer window.
However, the former Rangers winger surprisingly returned to Rugby Park late last week and was an unused substitute as Killie knocked Dundee United out of the Scottish Cup to set up a quarter-final tie at Inverness.
Speaking ahead of Kilmarnock’s trip to face Hibernian on Saturday, McInnes said: “Basically they came on late in the transfer window, Wigan, half an hour to go or whatever it was, and Jordan went back to them.
“The timing of that was poor from our point of view, we were really disappointed and angry I suppose that that was the case. It didn’t need to be that way.
“And then it came out a few days later that there was an issue with Wigan registering his paperwork in time and it left Jordan in such a poor situation. He had nowhere to play other than coming back.
“We still had the decision whether we wanted to bring him back. I asked Jordan to come up and speak to us and we had a good heart-to heart really and chatted it through.
“We bring Jordan back into the fold and hopefully he can have an impact for us from now to the end of the season.”
McInnes could have insisted on Jones staying until the end of the season but agreed to let the 28-year-old go back to Wigan before the paperwork glitch.
“It was my choice,” he said. “It wasn’t my choice that Wigan phoned me at half 10 at night.
“I understood Jordan’s eagerness, putting myself back in a player’s shoes, going back to where his family is and a chance to impress at his parent club under a new manager in the Championship. I understand why Jordan would be keen on that.
“But at the same time I had to look after Kilmarnock and we were trying to bring players in. We didn’t want to leave ourselves short but equally we wanted players who were keen to be here.
“But we have talked all that through now and I feel as though Jordan has been training well, it was great to have him back involved last weekend and we move forward.
“And hopefully we move forward with the appetite for Jordan to play well and contribute between now and the end of the season.”