Hearts fear new boss may lift Dundee United

Robbie Neilson will have to reshape his line-up because of suspension and injury

Robbie Neilson will have to reshape his line-up because of suspension and injury

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ROBBIE NEILSON is warning Hearts to be wary of managerial changes at Dundee United ahead of Sunday’s visit to Tannadice.

Mixu Paatelainen is poised to be named as the Tangerines’ new boss after the club ended their interest in Tommy Wright of St Johnstone and Inverness manager John Hughes.

Former Hibs and Kilmarnock boss Paatelainen will be tasked with guiding the club away from their current place at the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership following the sacking of Jackie McNamara.

Neilson today advised Hearts to be on their guard. The head coach is concerned that a new manager taking charge for the first time against Hearts could lift United’s spirits.

“It’s a new start and a fresh start for all the players so we have to be aware of that,” he told the Evening News.

“Teams can get a lift from a change of manager sometimes and Dundee United have some very good players. They will see it as an opportunity for them. We want to go there and win, that’s the target as always. It’s difficult to say how the changes up there will affect them but we need to make sure we prepare properly.”

Hearts are without the suspended Callum Paterson and Gavin Reilly this weekend, whilst captain Alim Ozturk will miss the next four weeks after undergoing a second hernia operation.

“We know we’ll get a hard game, that’s for sure, and we’ve got two players suspended and a couple of injuries so that doesn’t make it easy,” continued Neilson.

“We’re without some important players but it gives others a chance to come in and stake a claim for a place in the team.”