MARIUS ZALIUKAS is a major doubt for Hearts’ SPL match with Aberdeen tomorrow after receiving a pain-killing injection to face Liverpool on Thursday evening.
The Tynecastle captain is still feeling the effects of a dead leg sustained against Inverness last week and may not feature at Pittodrie.
John McGlynn, the Hearts manager, also has slight concern over left-back Danny Grainger, however the knee knock he incurred against Liverpool is not considered overly serious. David Templeton is definitely out as he serves the second of a two-match suspension.
“We’ll assess our injury situation,” said McGlynn. “Danny Grainger has tweaked a knee but it might not be too serious. He played the whole game against Liverpool so that’s a good sign. Marius played with an injection and will be a doubt. There will have to be tweaks to the team. Templeton is obviously not available so there will be players coming in through necessity.”
Most of those asked to deputise will be youngsters as Hearts continue their policy of promoting players from the Riccarton youth academy. McGlynn challenged anyone who gets an opportunity to prove their credentials.
“We don’t have a massive squad and we’ll be replacing players with younger ones again,” he continued. “It’s an opportunity for them and that will happen throughout the season. The young guys here will get an opportunity through whatever circumstances arise, injuries or suspensions. It’s up to those who come in to rise to the challenge and stake a claim for a regular jersey.”
Hearts are still attempting to recruit a new striker before the transfer window closes on Friday. McGlynn is also wary of other clubs possibly developing an interest in those who stood out against Liverpool.
“Until the transfer window closes, anything is possible,” he said. “We’ve had no offers for any of our players but obviously that can change. The guys did very well on Thursday night against Liverpool. Whether that will encourage people to come and buy them or not, I don’t know. There’s no doubt Thursday night was a showcase. I’m not suggesting we want to sell players but it was a showcase for people to show the whole world what they can do.
“I don’t want to sell players. We’ve lost a lot of players so the last thing I want as the manager is to lose more. With regards to bringing anyone in, until the window closes there is every opportunity. It’s no secret we want to bring in a striker so hopefully that will materialise.”