Fixture list congestion remains a concern for Hearts as they prepare for Glasgow City

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Hearts travel to Glasgow City on Sunday, their third fixture in eight days with continued concerns about the fixture congestion.

The Jam Tarts have been tasked with playing five games within a two-week period as the end of the season looms. Their trip to the league leaders is their third match within the timeframe with the tightly knitted fixtures not helping to ease their injury situation. Many players in the starting 11 have been in and out of the team throughout the past month due to injury.

Forced substitutions are seemingly happening every game for the side with Georgia Timms coming off early on against Rangers on Sunday as well as Claragh Connor. Addie Handley was also taken off at half-time against Partick Thistle on Wednesday due to a knock. While Jenny Smith and Georgia Hunter made their return to the pitch last game, the Midlothian side still has plenty of notable absentees such as Katie Rood whose ACL injury was confirmed earlier this week. Looking towards this Sunday’s game, assistant manager Sean Burt believes the schedule is not helping their situation.

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“We have girls that are playing for 90 minutes that are not 100%,” he told the Edinburgh Evening News. “We are asking them to do so quite frankly because our squad is extremely stretched at the moment. Even when you think that we got through last night you’ve got Sunday coming up where we have got a game and then you are again going on the Wednesday. It’s ok when it’s the odd week like that but when it’s over a continuous period the squad becomes stretched and ultimately you have got to look after your players. At the end of the day if someone is not fit to play then they are not fit to play but the schedule isn’t helping that.

Jennifer Smith scored upon her return last game. Credit: Malcolm MackenzieJennifer Smith scored upon her return last game. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie
Jennifer Smith scored upon her return last game. Credit: Malcolm Mackenzie

“Jenny Smith came back unscathed [against Partick Thistle] so I’m hoping we will get more minutes out of her. Georgia Hunter was the exact same. Addie [Handley] had to come off at half-time with a knee knock so we are going to have to assess that. In terms of anybody else coming back, not too sure at the moment. Obviously, Katie Rood is long-term. We will have to assess how things are, a couple of players at half-time on Wednesday were saying they have wee niggles. It’s football at the end of the day, there is a good depth to our squad in terms of the players and certainly anyone who is getting minutes warrants that opportunity.”

Hearts are currently on a three-game unbeaten run after drawing 1-1 in their past three fixtures. Burt is hoping his team can extend their form this weekend as they take on the leaders. “First thing’s first, it’s another top-three side chasing the title so it’s going to be difficult,” he added. “Glasgow City got a very positive result against Hibs last night and then a positive one against Partick. They are on a right high and they are looking to keep that title charge going. It’ll be difficult but as always, we will do our preparation like we normally do and will hopefully be able to take something from the game.”