Hearts are prepared to keep Miguel Pallardo sidelined at Cowdenbeath tomorrow to ensure he faces Rangers next week.
The Spaniard is nursing a calf injury and head coach Robbie Neilson admitted today that having him available for Rangers is the priority.
Pallardo missed last week’s home win over Raith Rovers and is still rated doubtful for tomorrow’s trip to Central Park. Neilson told the Evening News today that he will take no chances with the midfielder because he wants him in the team next weekend when Rangers visit Tynecastle in the season’s last game.
“Miguel missed the weekend with a wee calf problem but I’m hoping he’ll train so that we’ll have him for the weekend. The Rangers game is the priority so if Miguel is struggling at all he’ll be rested to get ready for next week,” said Neilson today.
The head coach must also decide whether Brad McKay or Jordan McGhee will replace suspended Danny Wilson in central defence tomorrow. “Either Jordan or Brad will come in,” said Neilson. “Central Park is a difficult place to play. It’s a narrow pitch, dry, bobbly. You need to play to the conditions.
“We will change tactics to an extent but not as much as last time in December. We want to go there and try and play a bit as well. We’ll change the team a wee bit to give some of the players coming in some game time.”
Neilson told his players they must perform against Cowdenbeath to ensure they stay in the team for the Rangers match. Hearts will receive the Scottish Championship trophy at full-time next weekend as a memorable campaign draws to a close.
“Places are at stake for the Rangers game so it’s important we put on a good show. Players need to put themselves in a good place to get a game the following week because that’s the one everyone wants to be involved in,” added Neilson.