TODAY could transpire as the last hurrah for Rudi Skacel and possibly one or two other Hearts players. Adrian Mrowiec, however, is here to stay and insists the next generation of Riccarton graduates will compensate for any departures.
If Skacel fails to negotiate a contract extension beyond the end of the month, this afternoon’s visit to Inverness Caledonian Thistle will prove to be his swansong. Mrowiec, whilst keen for the Czech to stay, knows Hearts can promote their own capable replacements if need be.
The Polish midfielder is encouraged by the youth academy pupils awaiting their first-team breakthrough. Scott Robinson cemented himself in central midfield recently, whilst Jason Holt, Fraser Mullen and a host of others are ready for promotion from the under-19s.
Hearts are keen to sell players and reduce their wage bill before the transfer window closes, but Mrowiec believes the quality of the team will not suffer. “Nobody has said anything about players leaving. Maybe for a couple of players this is their last game but I don’t know,” he said. “We will see in a couple of weeks. I think if we lose some players we have young players who are good.”
The Pole expects to revert to an orthodox central midfield berth in the Highlands after deputising at centre-back following Marius Zaliukas’ dismissal last weekend against St Mirren.
“I don’t think I’ll be in defence. In training Darren Barr has played centre-back. Zaliukas is out and [Ryan] McGowan is back so we will see,” he said, mindful that Hearts are seeking their sixth win in seven games.
“I hope everything will continue to be okay. We have won a couple of games and played very well and I hope we keep it going at Inverness. It’s been a very hard week and we have an important game away, then we have a couple of days off. In the last couple of games we played well and we won. We have to keep this going.”
“We are very focused but every game is very important. We have to do what we have done in the last couple of weeks. Third is our target point. It’s very hard. The Glasgow teams have 20 points on us and Motherwell and St Johnstone are close behind us.
“We’ve played very well for a couple of games. Against Celtic maybe we didn’t have the luck but in others we’ve played very well and we won an important game against Hibs. I hope we keep the run going and win because it’s a very important game. It’s very hard for Hearts to play Inverness away. It will not be easy.”
Hearts could be cited to attend a Scottish Premier League hearing next week over alleged late payment of wages to players. Mrowiec, though, insists the players are focusing only on football and not on any possible sanctions against their club.
“I don’t think about this. We are professional players and we think only about the next game and we want to keep third place so it’s important to think only about the next game. We don’t think about it, only about how to play and how to win the next game at Inverness.
“About the wages I don’t want to comment, the players are focused on the next game and maybe there have been problems but we don’t want to think about this and hope everything is okay.
“Everything is fine in the dressing room. If we win, everyone is happy. Everyone comes into the dressing room happy, no-one talks about problems. We just stay focused on the games.
“It’s been a very difficult time. Maybe we need these problems all the time and then we can win the league,” he smiled. “We spoke with the gaffer and he understands. He had these problems before in Portugal. He told us the problems are there but we have to think about football. We are professional players.”
Hearts’ team spirit was in evidence last week when the squad went go-karting together. “Suso was the best,” laughed Mrowiec. “He goes there every weekend, he is in training. I came ninth out of 22 and that was okay.
“It’s nice to do that sometimes. Last season we went to paintabll and it’s nice for the team and Sergio to do things together. It helps the spirit, all the players came and were happy we didn’t have training, just go-karting.”