Hearts boss to stick with two-pronged attack

Robbie Neilson might opt to reinstate the Tony Watt and Conor Sammon partnership against Ross County

Robbie Neilson might opt to reinstate the Tony Watt and Conor Sammon partnership against Ross County

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HEARTS coach Robbie Neilson insists he will continue playing two strikers having enjoyed success with that formula so far this season.

Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone left the Edinburgh club frustrated but they still sit second in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Neilson remains optimistic because of the attacking options available to him. Hearts have scored 11 times in six league matches so far after improving their forward line over the summer.

Bjorn Johnsen, Robbie Muirhead and Conor Sammon all signed on permanent contracts, whilst Tony Watt arrived on a season-long loan from Charlton Athletic. Neilson is now much more content with the different styles on offer up front.

“Personnel was massive for us over the summer. We had to recruit in the striker department. I felt that, when we lost Osman Sow in February, we found it really difficult. We didn’t really have the options I felt we needed to play two up front,” he explained.

“We were going into games and it was difficult to get the goals we’d had previously. Osman was a huge player for us and the fee we got for him showed that. He had four months left on his contract and we got a massive transfer fee, so we had to accept it. The upshot was we found it difficult to get goals.

“We had to change the formation a little bit and try to grind games out to get us through. The recruitment in the summer was all about getting attacking options. We managed to get four in, and four really good ones. It’s important we get these guys on the pitch. They can score goals for us and entertain people.”

Neilson faces a slight dilemma ahead of this weekend’s league meeting with Ross County at Tynecastle. He must decide whether to keep faith with Johnsen and Watt together up front, or reinstate Sammon following the defeat in Perth.

“We had to wait for Bjorn to get clearance first of all, but what he’s shown since he’s been here proves why we worked so hard to get him here. They all have to be patient and wait for their chance to come in to the team,” he added.