INTERIM Kilmarnock boss Gary Locke hopes to have his Rugby Park future sorted by the time his side face Motherwell on Saturday.
The former Hearts manager has lost just one game since replacing Allan Johnston last month and wants the job permanently.
New chairman Jim Mann last week admitted the 39-year-old was a “key candidate” after steering Killie back into the race for a Scottish Premiership top-six slot.
Talks are continuing with the board but Locke is hopeful an agreement will be in place by the time Well visit at the weekend.
He said: “I’m very hopeful that we can get things sorted soon rather than later.
“These things always take a wee bit of time, which does frustrate you a little bit. But I’ve been in the game a long time and I know what negotiations are like.
“Obviously it’s been pretty difficult but I’m hoping things can get resolved and I can sort out my future by the weekend.
“It’s not far away now I’m told.
“We’ve got the new chairman in charge now and there is a really positive vibe around the place, so it would be great to be part of that.”
Locke was axed as Hearts boss last summer despite leading the club through its administration nightmare.
He was unable to prevent the Jambos from being relegated but did put down the foundations which allowed the Gorgie side to bounce back at the first attempt.
However, Locke admits the uncertainty of his Tynecastle reign left him bruised - and he does not want another repeat this close-season.
“I just want to get my future sorted out because I’ve had a couple of unsettling summers when I was at Hearts which have not been great for me or my family,” he admitted.
“I try to take all the pressure and not let it affect my wife or kids. But it can be difficult. Like me, my wife worries about things at times.
“But this year I’d like to be able to go on holiday knowing where I’m going to be when I come back.
“Football is a great job to be part of but it can also be an uncertain one.
“I know I’m only a couple of bad results away from being out of a job. On the other side of the coin, if results are good it’s a great job.
“So it can be a bit of a nightmare at times.”
While Locke ‘s future could be sorted soon, the interim boss insists he has no idea if he will be re-joined at Rugby Park by Kris Boyd.
The former Scotland hitman netted 22 times for Killie last year but has failed to rekindle the goalscoring success of his first Rangers stint since returning to Ibrox in the summer.
Reports have now suggested Boyd - left out of Gers last two games - could be set for a third Kilmarnock stint by signing up as player/assistant manager at the end of this campaign.
But Locke said: “There has been no talks at all. This is a funny time of the year where there is a lot of speculation.
“Maybe because I was sitting next to Kris at Ibrox on Saturday people are jumping to conclusions.
“But it’s more important that I get my future sorted first before I start thinking about my backroom staff.
“Right now, Kris Boyd is very much a Rangers player and it’s not for me to comment on him.
“He’s a friend of mine but he’s got a huge end to the season coming up and I hope he does well.”
Locke was speaking ahead of a Tesco Bank Football Festival at Rugby Park. Over 700 children from 16 schools are expected to be involved in thus year’s programme across East Ayrshire.
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