Hearts plan to field two strikers more often as options grow

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has plenty to ponder in attack. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has plenty to ponder in attack. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Robbie Neilson says Hearts plan to rotate their forwards this season and will play with two strikers more often than last year. Juanma Delgado, Conor Sammon, Tony Watt and Bjorn Johnsen offer a variety of options up front which the Tynecastle head coach intends to exploit.

International clearance has yet to arrive for Johnsen, held up by a claim from the Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia that he has a contract with them. If it doesn’t arrive before the weekend then the American will not be eligible for Hearts’ opening Ladbrokes Premiership match against Celtic.

Juanma, Sammon and Watt are all available. Watt is poised to make his debut for the Edinburgh club against his old one. Neilson explained that the different styles of the strikers in his squad provides good competition. It should also allow him to select a two-man attack in certain games.

“We have quite a few forwards but that gives us options,” he told the Evening News.

“We can rotate them, we can play who we want for certain games because they all have different attributes to bring to the team. We wanted more forwards to give us more options up front.”

Watt arrived on a season-long loan from Charlton Athletic, whilst Sammon signed a permanent three-year deal after leaving Derby County. Juanma is entering his second season in Scotland and, once international clearance is obtained, Johnsen will complete the quartet.

“Last year, we didn’t have that many options. Now we have different types of strikers,” continued Neilson.

“It gives us more options if we want to play two men up front. We won’t do it in every game but for certain games we want to have that choice. There are also injuries and loss of form at times so we need to be covered for that. We will need that base of strikers.”