Hearts v Motherwell: Match preview and probable line-ups

Kyle Lafferty could return to the starting line-up for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group
Kyle Lafferty could return to the starting line-up for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group
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Hearts will give midfield duo Arnaud Djoum and Jamie Walker every chance to be fit for the visit of Motherwell but Aaron Hughes is likely to miss out again.

Kyle Lafferty is improving his fitness after a virus restricted him to a late substitute appearance against Hamilton, and he could be pushing for a start as a result.

Craig Levein will have to shuffle his pack once more after Jamie Brandon’s red card last week against Hamilton, with Connor Randall likely to start at right back with Michael Smith on the left.

Ashley Smith-Brown, Malaury Martin and Rory Currie are all still out for the Jambos.

Smith-Brown is still nursing a groin/pelvis injury, while Martin has a troublesome groin niggle. Currie was ruled out for the season after sustaining a serious knee injury while playing for the Under-20s.

Motherwell have been dealt a blow with the news that Louis Moult and Peter Hartley will both miss the trip to the Capital.

Moult faces a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury while Hartley has a foot problem. Stephen Robinson may opt to deploy Carl McHugh in his back three, with Ellis Plummer yet to make a first team appearance for the Steelmen in the league and just a 16-minute substitute appearance in the league cup.

Up top Robinson could call on Alex Fisher, although the striker is yet to find the net this season. George Newell could also be in contention.

Goalkeeper Trevor Carson will face a late fitness test ahead of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership clash.

Motherwell have only won one of their last six matches - a 2-0 win against Aberdeen in the League Cup - while Hearts are winless in six, having drawn three and lost three.

Last five meetings: Motherwell 2-1 Hearts; Motherwell 0-3 Hearts; Hearts 3-0 Motherwell; Motherwell 1-3 Hearts; Motherwell 1-0 Hearts.

Likely Hearts team (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Randall, Souttar, Berra, M Smith; Cowie, Djoum/Buaben; Milinkovic, Walker, Goncalves; Lafferty. Subs from: Hamilton, Noring, Nowak, Baur, Grzelak, Djoum/Buaben, Henderson, Callachan, Moore, Keena, Stockton.

Likely Motherwell team: (3-5-2): Carson; McHugh, Kipre, Dunne; Cadden, Bigirimana, Rose, Campbell, Tait; Bowman, Fisher. Subs from: Griffiths, Hammell, Plummer, Frear, Petravicius, Grimshaw, Fisher, Newell.

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Kick-off: 3pm

Odds: Hearts 5/4 Draw 12/5 Motherwell 13/5 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page