Ayr United manager Jim Duffy says the return of fans is a great boost for the players ahead of their Ayrshire derby match against Kilmarnock tonight.

The Honest men go into the league match off the back of a 1-1 draw at the weekend against Arbroath.

United found themselves one nil down in the second half, before Jonathan Afolabi grabbed his first goal for the club with a late equaliser.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Duffy said: “It it is difficult for any young player joining a new club, people forget he is only 21.

“It was a bit stop start with the COVID break, then he was injured, then he was sent off and missed a couple of games.

“That as well as the form of Tomi Adeloye, who has been playing very well this season, so he has to compete with him and the other forwards at the club.

“I am delighted for him to get off the mark, it will help his confidence and it was an important goal.”

Duffy will be hoping the Celtic loanee can come up with the goods again this evening as they host rivals Kilmarnock at Somerset.

The Honest Men lost 2-0 at Rugby Park when the sides met in the first game of the season, with COVID restrictions stopping any United fans from attending.

However, with the easing of restrictions there will be plenty of fans in backing Ayr this time, with Duffy hoping they can add to his side’s performance.

He said: “I think there is no doubt that the first game was quite a strange situation for all of our players.

“If we made a good pass or a great tackle there is no response, you did not hear anything.

“Whilst when Kilmarnock did anything of note there was a roar of approval.

“So, this time around a bigger side of the crowd will be Ayr United fans that will be looking to get right behind the team.

“That support helps the players’ concentration and focus.

“If we get that balance right between the players performing well and the fans being vocal in their support, then that will help performances.”