HEARTS captain Marius Zaliukas should be fit for Saturday’s friendly at Dunfermline despite hobbling off towards the end of last night’s encounter with Falkirk. However, defender Darren Barr is the latest to fall ill with the virus which has affected several members of the Tynecastle squad recently.
Barr was absent against Falkirk and is expected to miss the weekend visit to East End Park, according to Hearts manager John McGlynn. Zaliukas suffered cramp and was withdrawn with 13 minutes remaining in the 1-0 defeat but he is expected to play on Saturday. On a more positive note, striker Gordon Smith has been released from hospital after a severe bout of tonsilitis.
“Marius took cramp. It was his first game in testing conditions but he should be back for Saturday,” said McGlynn. “Gordon Smith got out of hospital yesterday. He’s had antibiotics and he’s feeling a lot better. We’re hoping that, if he continues to improve, he’ll be back in on Monday. We aren’t expecting him to be available for Saturday.
“There has been a virus going round and Darren Barr’s picked it up now. A number of the players have had it. Darren was missing last night and I think he’ll be ruled out for the weekend as well. We are probably looking towards the start of next week for him.”
McGlynn reiterated his desire to sign a striker but conceded it may not happen in time for Hearts’ opening SPL match with St Johnstone on August 4. “The striking department is still a priority for us. I think we’ve got enough cover and balance in other areas. It’s just a work in progress.
“We are looking to bring someone in but things take time and you have to be patient. Whether we get someone in before the St Johnstone game, who knows? We have until
August 31 before the transfer window closes. I’d like someone in sooner rather than later.”
If necessary, McGlynn said he would not hesitate to delve into the First Division for a new recruit. “You always have to keep looking,” he continued. “There are players in the First Division, not loads of them, so you need to pick the right ones who can step up.
“Hearts picked up Ryan Stevenson a couple of years ago and now he’s playing with Ipswich in the Championship. Craig Levein took Danny Swanson from Berwick to Dundee United, and when Craig was at Hearts he picked up Andy Webster from Arbroath. There are certainly players to be got.”