HEARTS coach Robbie Neilson will change his team following Sunday’s defeat to Rangers, with midfielder Kenny Anderson poised to start against Alloa tonight.
Neilson is keen to freshen up his side and will consider promoting some players who have been left on the substitutes’ bench recently. Tonight’s match comes just four days before the Edinburgh derby with Hibs at Easter Road but Neilson still intends to field a strong side. Anderson and striker Soufian El Hassnaoui could both start in a match which will be Danny Lennon’s first as the new manager of Alloa.
“We’ll try different things and different players in other positions between now and the end of the season, but we still want to win games,” said the head coach. “That is the most important thing for us. We might alter some things, but I will still be picking a team that I think will win every game. There have been guys this season that have been doing double, triple sessions, and not getting a lot of game time. They need to be rewarded for that as well.
“Everyone has played a part this season, whether it was one game, ten games or 30 games. Jordan McGhee scored down at Queen of the South, Anderson scored at Livingston. These were important goals for us and they played a part in the season.”
Neilson added that whoever comes into the side must be properly focused on Alloa and not looking ahead to Hibs. “We need to focus on the Alloa game first. Once that’s done, then we’ll take a look at the Hibs game. As a staff, we’re already preparing for it but the players just need to look at tonight. We have to learn from the defeat at Rangers. It wasn’t a great performance from us but you learn a lot of things in a defeat.”
On Lennon’s appointment, Neilson said: “Danny did fantastically well at St Mirren and he’s taken the Scotland Under-21s too. If we perform tomorrow night and move the ball quickly, it shouldn’t matter whether Alloa have a new manager or not.”
It remains to be seen whether Adam Eckersley plays this evening after being told Hearts will not be extending his contract. “Adam is available for selection and he will play games for us,” said Neilson. “He will be disappointed not to be offered anything, but that is part of football and he is a strong character. Whenever he trains and plays he gives 100 per cent, so I’ve no qualms about putting him in. I’m sure he wants to say goodbye to the Hearts fans at Tynecastle as well.”