Gary Locke set to ring changes in defence

Gary Locke addresses his squad in training ahead of tomorrow's clash with Kilmarnock. Pic: SNS

Gary Locke addresses his squad in training ahead of tomorrow's clash with Kilmarnock. Pic: SNS

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Gary Locke intends to re-jig the Hearts defence against Kilmarnock tomorrow after admitting he wanted to substitute eight players at half-time at Fir Park last week.

The manager was unhappy with his team’s defensive organisation and hauled Brad McKay off as they trailed 2-0 to Motherwell at the interval. Locke stressed today that he could have replaced most of his team, such was the paucity of Hearts’ defending.

Tomorrow’s trip to Rugby Park is almost certain to bring changes to the back line. “There’s a strong possibility that might happen but again it comes down to the personnel,” explained Locke.

“I could have taken any one of eight players off last week. If I could’ve made eight changes, I would have done it. As a team, we were all over the place when it came to our defensive 
responsibilities. We’ll have a look at things this week and see who has trained well and then we’ll pick a team from there.”

Having suffered two defeats against Kilmarnock this season, Locke wants vast improvement from Hearts. “The players know we haven’t done well against Kilmarnock,” he said. “They beat us convincingly at Tynecastle and their experienced players caused us all sorts of problems, especially Kris Boyd. We’re aware of that but we just need to take care of ourselves.”

Callum Tapping will again miss out through injury. “Callum has a thigh problem now, which is unfortunate for him,” continued the manager.

“Jason Holt is still getting a bit of pain from his foot so we’re just trying to get him to manage it and get through it. He’s battering on with the training and he’s come off the bench in the last two games.”