David Milinkovic is set to return to the Hearts team against Kilmarnock tonight after being rested for Saturday’s trip to Ibrox.
The French-Serbian winger, who has scored three goals in his last five appearances, and veteran midfielder Don Cowie, were both given the day off as the Tynecastle side lost 2-0 to Rangers. Both players are expected to feature this evening as Steve Clarke’s in-form Kilmarnock team visit Gorgie ahead of a couple of high-stakes away fixtures against Motherwell, in the Scottish Cup on Sunday, and Hibs, in the Premiership on Friday week.
“I left Don and David out because they’ve done a power of running recently but they’ll be back in against Kilmarnock,” Levein told the Evening News.
“We’ve got three massive games coming up so I’ll be making use of the fresh legs in all of these games.”
Levein can often be heard bellowing instructions towards Milinkovic from the technical area, although the manager explained that the on-loan Genoa attacker’s determination and workrate outweighs his occasional lack of positional sense.
“We had to pick up his toys after we left him out on Saturday but he’s fine,” smiled Levein, with reference to Milinkovic’s disappointment at being given the day off. “He’s really enthusiastic and hard-working but at times he doesn’t retain information very long and he can be a little bit frustrating. He more than makes up for it with his efforts. Suffice to say, I’ve been happy with him.”
Another attacker set to return to the squad this evening is Danny Amankwaa. The Danish winger, who joined in January from FC Copenhagen, has sat out Hearts’ past three matches while undergoing some intensive fitness work with the club’s sports science team in an effort to bring him closer to peak condition.
“Danny will be in the squad and we might see him at some point,” said Levein. “He’s done well. He’s been battered for two weeks and his fitness levels have improved. Because of the position he plays, I don’t want to send him out here when he’s unfit, off the pace and unable to replicate his best.
“I want the supporters to see him when he’s in a better position fitness-wise. He’s not carrying any extra weight or anything, he’s just not been up to full speed because he’s not been playing very often. He was fine with coming out of the team for a bit. He’s been working hard.”
Trialist striker Ghislain Guessan will be given another chance to impress when he plays for Hearts’ development team at home to Kilmarnock tomorrow. The 25-year-old Ivorian has been at Riccarton for the past two weeks and netted in an Under-20s match against Dundee last week.
There has been no notable progress with regard to any move to bolster midfield following the serious Achilles injury sustained by Arnaud Djoum. Levein told the Evening News last week he would look at recruiting a new midfielder, but the return from injury of both Harry Cochrane and Steven Naismith at the weekend means that is not viewed as a matter of urgency at this point.
“I’ve looked at a few things but nothing that’s really come to anything,” he said. “Getting Harry and Steven back makes me feel better. It was very thin-looking with those two and Arnaud out but I don’t feel quite the same necessity to get someone else in. We’ll see, though. There’s still some stuff to look at.”
Levein, meanwhile, insisted he had heard nothing from Brighton and Hove Albion after the English Premier League club were credited with an interest in 16-year-old Cochrane over the weekend.