Hearts boss set to go on front foot at Well

Gary Locke. Picture: Neil Hanna
Gary Locke. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Gary Locke is poised to return to a two-man forward line against Motherwell tomorrow after playing Paul McCallum as a lone striker against Celtic.

The Hearts manager stressed today that two attackers is his preference but said a 4-5-1 formation was necessary to keep Celtic at bay last Saturday.

Locke will choose between Ryan Stevenson and Dale Carrick to partner McCallum at Fir Park. He has employed a 4-4-2 formation regularly since the turn of the year and seen it bring relative success in terms of results. The 2-0 loss to Celtic was Hearts’ first defeat in five league games.

The manager feels victory is vital against Motherwell and is ready to attack once again. “Against Celtic, you’ve got to be sensible,” said Locke. “Last time at Tynecastle they beat us 7-0. If we had gone gung-ho against them again, we could’ve suffered another heavy defeat.

“We felt we had to go with an extra man in midfield and I thought it worked. We restricted them to very few chances and then late in the game we opened up a bit and went for it.

“This weekend it’s slightly different. We need to go to Motherwell and try to win the game. We’ll be as positive as we always are. Personally, I prefer to play with two strikers because I want my team to attack.”

If Stevenson is not deployed up front, he will take up a place in midfield alongside Jamie Hamill. “A player who can play two or three positions is a great thing to have as a manager,” said Locke. “Ryan gives me a wee bit of a headache this weekend because it’s a case of where do you play him? He can play in a few areas.”