Jon Daly enters Hearts’ league match with Motherwell at Fir Park knowing a win makes him difficult to ignore for the Edinburgh club’s head coach vacancy. Here, we look at four ways he has improved the first team since taking charge on an interim basis at the start of the month ..
HARDER TO BEAT
Hearts’ recent results against Kilmarnock and Rangers are evidence of Daly’s work to shore up their defence. They have been dogged and resilient in both games, earning a 1-0 win at Rugby Park and a 0-0 draw at Ibrox. Their defence has been organised and solid, with John Souttar and Christophe Berra at the heart of it.
IMPROVED FITNESS LEVELS
Players are now being worked harder at Riccarton each day as Daly has been keen to improve the overall fitness of the squad. Ballwork is still a major feature of the sessions but more cardiovascular exercises have been introduced to improve sharpness and stamina.
GETTING MORE OUT OF KEY PLAYERS
Jack Hamilton, Arnaud Djoum, John Souttar and Esmael Goncalves are just four examples of Hearts players whose performances levels have shot up in the last few weeks. Daly has gone public on his attempts to build confidence and make individuals feel good about themselves, and it seems to have had an effect.
Daly is a visible presence in his technical area and has looked like he is in command of each situation. He has only taken three games but there has been no sign of notes or instructions being passed down from director of football Craig Levein in the stand. Stopping that confusion can only help players and fans alike.