Hearts update on Ben Woodburn and Liam Boyce for Auchinleck Talbot Scottish Cup tie

Hearts expect top goalscorer Liam Boyce to be fit for a key role in Saturday’s Scottish Cup trip to Auchinleck Talbot.

Thursday, 20th January 2022, 9:38 am

He is being primed to lead the attack at Beechwood Park after spending Tuesday night on the substitutes’ bench while Hearts earned a 2-0 Premiership victory against St Johnstone.

A calf problem has hindered Boyce’s involvement since late autumn but the chance to rest the injury during the winter break helped. Manager Robbie Neilson chose not to risk him in midweek because he wants his best striker available this weekend.

Having knocked Hamilton Academical out in the last round of the Scottish Cup, Auchinleck represent tricky opponents for Hearts down in Ayrshire. They sit second top of the West of Scotland League Premier Division and will be motivated for a fourth-round upset at their own ground.

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Hearts forwards Ben Woodburn and Liam Boyce.

Neilson explained why Boyce, with 11 goals in 20 appearances so far this season, could be an important figure. “Boyce should be ready. The plan was always to try and get him ready for this cup game. We feel we will need him down there,” Neilson told the Evening News.

“He did full training earlier this week, came through it and was then on the bench against St Johnstone. We could maybe have given him ten minutes but it probably wasn't worth the risk. He will be available for Saturday as long as he trains okay between now and then.”

Ben Woodburn, the on-loan Liverpool forward, missed the St Johnstone match through illness and is unlikely to make Saturday’s cup tie. Hearts are hopeful he will return in time for Wednesday’s league match with Celtic at Tynecastle Park.

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