Adam Eckersley is poised to continue at left-back for Hearts this weekend following a fine performance and winning goal at Alloa last week.
He drew praise from head coach Robbie Neilson today for what was his finest display for the club to date.
The Englishman has had to be patient since joining Hearts in August, with Kevin McHattie already the established left-back. However, the last two games on astroturf pitches at Queen of the South and Alloa saw McHattie rested and Eckersley has seized his chance.
He helped record clean sheets in both fixtures and scored with a deflected free-kick to secure the 1-0 win over Alloa. Neilson is certain to keep faith with Eckersley this weekend when Dumbarton visit Tynecastle.
“I think last Saturday at Alloa suited Adam. He’s an attacking full-back and our gameplan was to get him going forward, going on the overlap and getting crosses into the box,” Neilson told the Evening News.
“It was the same on the right, although we didn’t get that so much until we got Callum Paterson on.
“Adam did well because he’s a good player. I knew that when I got him. You don’t come through the Man United youth ranks and then play eight years in Denmark without being a good player.”
The victory at Alloa saw Hearts increase their lead at the top of the Championship to nine points, but Neilson is not concerned with the chasing back. Nor is he getting carried away by talk of winning the title.
Eckersley’s winner in Clackmannanshire came four minutes from the end and the head coach explained why his team will never settle for a draw.
“It’s very early and we can only look after ourselves. We plan to go into every game and win it,” he continued. “We went to
Alloa with a gameplan to win. A couple of things didn’t work so we changed it to try and win the game. Then we changed it again and eventually we got a goal.
“We must continue to do that. We’re never going to go anywhere in this league and say, ‘we’re happy to take a draw’. We must be positive.
“If we change things, we do it for a reason.”