Hearts striker James Keatings is again doubtful for Saturday’s visit to Alloa as head coach Robbie Neilson tries to protect the player’s groin problem.
Keatings was excused last weekend’s win over Queen of the South as Neilson preferred not to risk aggravating the niggling injury on astroturf. The head coach said today it would probably be a similar scenario with Alloa’s artificial pitch.
Keatings has four goals from nine appearances this season but has had to be patient, with several of his outings coming as a substitute.
Neilson is concerned about the 22-year-old’s groin after he underwent surgery last year and is reluctant to expose him to a synthetic surface unnecessarily. “James has a problem with his groin. He had an operation last year and it’s just a bit of a niggle. I didn’t want to take any risk with him on the astro and it will probably be similar this week as well,” he said.
Osman Sow and Soufian El Hassnaoui have been in goalscoring form in recent weeks and they are again expected to be paired together in attack against Alloa. Several first-team players who did not start the match against Queen of the South were given game time last night as Hearts Under-20s beat St Johnstone 3-1. Goalkeeper Scott Gallacher, defenders Brad McKay and Kevin McHattie, midfielder Miguel Pallardo and striker Dale Carrick all featured.