Jon Daly hopes a sizeable Hearts support turn out at Tynecastle as his under-20 side kick off their bid to make it to another SFA Youth Cup final this weekend.
The young Jambos, who were defeated by Motherwell at Hampden in last season’s showpiece, host Annan Athletic in the third round on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 1pm).
Hearts usually play their SPFL Development League matches at Ochilview, so the chance to play at Tynecastle represents a novel experience for Daly’s players.
With no first-team match this weekend, the coach has urged supporters to turn out and make the match as memorable as possible for his youngsters.
“It would be great to go on another run,” said Daly. “It will be more difficult this year because the team’s a bit younger but we’re happy to have a home tie. It’ll be exciting for the boys to play at Tynecastle. A lot of the boys weren’t here last year so this will be their first experience of it. We had a decent crowd when we played Dundee United there last year, so it would be great for the lads if they can get a good crowd and bit of atmosphere because it’s a great stadium to play in.”
Hearts will be without highly-regarded 17-year-old centre-back Daniel Baur, who was recently dealt a hammer blow with the news that he could miss the remainder of the season after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage.
Dario Zanatta and Dale Baxter are also unavailable as they are currently on emergency loans at Queen’s Park and Selkirk respectively.
Russell McLean, Ali Roy and Callumn Morrison are all eligible to feature under the terms of their development loans with Civil Service Strollers, Stenhousemuir and Stirling Albion respectively.
“Those three will be available for selection provided they don’t play too many minutes for their loan clubs [tomorrow],” said Daly. “It’s a big ask for them to play on Saturday and then again on Sunday, so it may be that we have to bring in some Under-17s to bolster the squad.”
The main stand will be open on Sunday, with admission costing £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.
Meanwhile, Hearts’ festive fixture at home to Kilmarnock on Tuesday, December 27 has had its kick-off confirmed as 7.45pm.