Hearts play Aberdeen for the third time in the final match before the Scottish Premiership split, with both games so far this season ending in goalless draws.
Craig Levein’s injury list is mounting, with combative midfielder Joaquim Adao and Michael Smith unlikely to feature alongside long-term absentees Demetri Mitchell, Jamie Brandon, Rory Currie and Arnaud Djoum, while Prince Buaben is also sidelined with a hamstring injury.
David Milinkovic could play a part on Saturday despite Levein saying earlier this week: “I’m still not sure he’s 100 per cent.” The winger was on the bench at Dens Park last weekend but didn’t make an appearance.
Connor Randall is expected to make the bench after sickness forced him to drop out of the matchday squad last time out with youngster Chris Hamilton stepping onto the bench.
Dons boss Derek McInnes is without Mikey Devlin and Chidi Nwakali but Niall McGinn should be in the squad.
He is likely to stick with Kari Arnason in central defence and Anthony O’Connor in defensive midfield alongside Graeme Shinnie, while Stevie May is expected to start as the lone striker.
Joe Lewis returned between the sticks in the 2-0 win over Motherwell and will line up again in goal for the Dons in the Capital.
Last five meetings: Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts; Hearts 0-0 Aberdeen; Hearts 1-2 Aberdeen; Aberdeen 2-0 Hearts; Hearts 0-1 Aberdeen; Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts.
Likely Hearts team: (4-3-1-2): McLaughlin; Hughes, Souttar, Berra, Godinho; Cowie, Callachan, Cochrane; Milinkovic; Naismith, Lafferty. Subs from: J Hamilton, Randall, C Hamilton, McDonald, Amankwaa, Irving, Henderson, Moore.
Likely Aberdeen team (4-2-3-1): Lewis; Logan, Arnason, McKenna, Considine; O’Connor, Shinnie; McGinn, McLean, Christie; May. Subs from: Woodman, Ball, Reynolds, Cosgrove, Stewart, Mackay-Steven, Wright, Rooney.
Referee: John Beaton
Odds: Hearts 13/5 Draw 12/5 Aberdeen 11/10 (Odds correct at the time of writing)