Hearts boss warns that Dundee are ‘fighting for their lives’

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Craig Levein has warned Hearts to be prepared for a Dundee side who will be full of aggression as they battle to stay in the Scottish Premiership.

Hearts visit Dens Park on Sunday knowing a victory will all but guarantee their place in the top six. They face a team who have lost six of their past seven matches in all competitions and sit tenth in the Ladbrokes Premiership, just six points ahead of bottom-of-the-table Ross County.

David Milinkovic is hoping to shake off a knock. Picture: SNS

David Milinkovic is hoping to shake off a knock. Picture: SNS

However, Levein is taking nothing for granted ahead of a match at a venue where they have lost on their two previous visits. “Dundee are fighting - and the manager’s leading the way, isn’t he?” said the Hearts boss, with jocular reference to Neil McCann’s recent post-match spat against St Johnstone which last night landed him a two-game touchline ban.

“We lost 2-1 last time we were up there to two headers after playing well in the second half. Dundee will be fighting for their lives but we need three points to make sure we’re in the top six.”

Hearts have won only three of their last ten matches and just one of their last nine away from home. With the campaign drawing to a close, Levein is determined to ensure greater consistency levels from his team next season.

“I’d like to address the away form,” he said. “But I’d like to address everything. We’ve had some good performances and some poor performances. We’ve been up and down right throughout the season. We’ve had lots of issues to deal with and I’m hoping that once the season ends, we can get a fresh slate, bring a few players in and see if we can get a bit more consistency to our play.”

Hearts hope to have winger David Milinkovic back in the squad after a two-game absence with a knee problem, while Kyle Lafferty and Aaron Hughes are expected to be shake off leg and thigh issues in time to be included on Sunday. Prince Buaben misses out, however, after this week being added to an injury list which includes Arnaud Djoum, Demetri Mitchell and Jamie Brandon.