ROBBIE NEILSON is expected to make changes to the Hearts side for tomorrow’s visit of Motherwell in order to rest some players who have been playing while not fully fit.
It remains to be seen who will drop out, but Igor Rossi, Blazej Augustyn, Alim Ozturk, Juwon Oshaniwa, Prince Buaben, Morgaro Gomis and Juanma Delgado have all been utilised in the opening league games despite not being at their peak. Gavin Reilly, Jordan McGhee, Kevin McHattie, Sean McKirdy and Billy King are among those who will hope to feature prominently against the Steelmen after being peripheral figures in the victories over St Johnstone and Dundee that have taken Hearts into a share of top spot in the Premiership.
“We’ve got boys carrying knock so I’ll need to look at it and decide what team to play because a few of them from Saturday probably won’t make it,” head coach Neilson told the Evening News. “That’s why we have a squad, though.”
There won’t be wholesale changes, however, as Neilson anticipates a stern test from a Motherwell side who won at Inverness on the opening weekend and were widely deemed unfortunate to lose 2-0 to Dundee United on Saturday.
“It will be a really tough one against Motherwell,” said the head coach. “Expectations are that we want to win the game but we’ll need to work hard. They’re another strong team with experienced players like Stevie Hammell, Stephen McManus, Scott McDonald and Keith Lasley, so it’ll be tough.”
Neilson is encouraged by the start his side have made to life in the Premiership, with a couple of hard-fought victories over Tayside opposition ensuring a maximum six-point haul.
“I’m pleased because it’s been two really tough games against a St Johnstone team who qualified for Europe followed by another top-six team in Dundee,” he said. “Dens Park is one of the toughest venues to go to, believe me. It’s a difficult environment to play in and they’re a strong, aggressive team. To get three points there is really pleasing but we just need to keep going.
“Hopefully, we’ll get close to a full house against Motherwell because the fans were magnificent at Dundee and helped push us over the winning line.”
• HEARTS youngster Robbie Buchanan has joined Cowdenbeath on loan until January.
The 19-year-old forward has joins the Blue Brazil on a development loan, which allows him to feature for Hearts Under-20s.
Buchanan, who spent part of last season on loan at Central Park, started for the Fife club in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Stranraer.