SCOTT ARFIELD believes Huddersfield Town's capture of Kevin Kilbane has sent out a clear message to the rest of League One of how intent they are on gaining promotion.
The Terriers moved for the 33-year-old Hull City midfielder as soon as the transfer window opened on New Year's Day.
Signed on loan for the rest of the season, Kilbane has since impressed in his first two appearances in a Town shirt as Lee Clark's men claimed four points from the meetings with Carlisle United and Sheffield Wednesday.
Against the Owls, the Republic of Ireland international played a huge part in the 1-0 win as he and Scott Arfield took control of central midfield.
"The guy oozes class," said 22-year-old Arfield. "He is a very, very experienced man and for someone like me, a young man coming through, I want to play alongside the best players.
"Kevin is right up there in the game. He was talking all the way through the game to me.
"Anyone watching the Wednesday game who didn't know Kevin Kilbane had signed for us would have soon spotted he had played at the highest level.
"His composure on the ball and those passes in the first half were superb. It shows the ambition of the club, the chairman and the manager to bring players like Kevin into the club. It shows we are fighting for promotion."
Kilbane, who has won 108 caps for the Republic, has spent the past two seasons at the KC Stadium and made 55 appearances.
The last of those came in Hull's 3-2 win at Sheffield United on Boxing Day.
Town manager Clark moved for the vastly-experienced midfielder after Damien Johnson had been ruled out for the season.
The Huddersfield chief was delighted with both Kilbane's efforts against the Owls on Monday and the win that took his side back up to fourth, a position that midfielder Arfield believes can be a perfect launchpad for an assault on the League One title during the second half of the campaign.
He said: "The club is in a good position. The players need to realise that and allow for the expectation levels of the fans, who have a right to be excited and expect a lot of us.
"Maybe at the start of the season, we didn't really kick on like we should. But it is a new year now and our form is good.
"A lot of teams would love to be in our position. We are not happy with second, we want to get right to the top of the league."
On the derby win over Wednesday and its potential impact on the season, Arfield, pictured right, added: "From the start of the season, we have set out in home games with a desire to win so to beat Sheffield Wednesday was very pleasing.
"It has made it a good start to 2011, especially with us getting a point at Carlisle on New Year's Day. Long may that continue.
"Our form in those two games has been good. It was obviously disappointing to lose those two goals at Carlisle but I still think there were plenty of positives.
"Now, hopefully we can go from strength to strength."
After two games in three days to start January, the pace will not slacken for Town who face four more league games this month along with an FA Cup third round meeting with non-League Dover Athletic and the first leg of their Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Area final against Carlisle.
It is a demanding schedule and one that will test Clark's squad, which earlier this week lost two members when Joe Garner returned to Nottingham Forest and Lee Croft went back to Derby County,
Explaining the decision not to extend the loan stay of either player, Clark said: "We thank the lads for their efforts. Joe has played some important roles in good victories for us this season.
"But as a goalscorer you are judged on goals and I need someone that will help Jordan Rhodes in the goalscoring stakes.
"Sadly, Lee did not achieve the levels I know he can offer. I saw him during my last season at Norwich when he was in sensational form but during his time here he wasn't able to reproduce that."
Garner failed to score in 19 appearances for Town, while Croft made just one start.