Hearts v Dundee preview: Naismith suspended, Haring out, 4-4-2 tactics?
Hearts are without striker Steven Naismith through suspension for tomorrow night’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash at home to Dundee.
The forward is serving an automatic one-match ban after picking up six cautions in the Jambos’ first 19 matches, while Dark Blues centre-back Darren O’Dea also misses out as he completes a two-match ban.
Naismith’s enforced absence could see Steven MacLean brought in to partner David Vanecek up front for Craig Levein’s side.
Sean Clare’s fine strike against Livingston in the William Hill Scottish Cup on Sunday should see the former Sheffield Wednesday man hold onto his starting berth, while Callumn Morrison is likely to continue in the right-midfield role.
With three central defenders in O’Dea, Andrew Davies and Josh Meekings all absent, Ryan Inniss will likely partner Genseric Kusunga at the heart of the Dee defence, with Jim McIntyre’s side still looking for a second away win in the league this season. Jesse Curran and Martin Woods are likely to pair up in the engine room.
Kenny Miller is expected to start up front with Paul McGowan slotting in behind the veteran striker. New signing Andy Dales, on loan from Scunthorpe, and Roarie Deacon could line up on either flank.
Injuries / suspensions / unavailable
Hearts - Peter Haring (hernia), Uche Ikpeazu (foot), Craig Wighton (ankle). Naismith is suspended.
Dundee - Andrew Davies (foot), Jack Hamilton (finger), Josh Meekings (hip). O’Dea is suspended.
Hearts: Doyle; Smith, Shaughnessy, Berra, Garuccio; Morrison, Lee, Djoum, Clare; Vanecek, MacLean. Subs from: Zlamal, Souttar, Brandon, Mitchell, Dikamona, Hughes, Burns, Bozanic, Cochrane, McDonald, Keena, Mulraney.
Dundee: Dieng; Kerr, Kusunga, Inniss, Ralph; Deacon, C Curran, Woods, Dales; McGowan; K Miller. Subs from: Parish, Jefferies, Madianga, Nelson, Ngwatala, Mendy, Moussa, Lambert, Kallman, C Curran, Kamara, Moore.
Magic number - 5
The number of matches between the two sides at Tynecastle since a Dundee win - a Ryan Conroy penalty in the third minute gave the Dark Blues a 1-0 victory in September 2012. Current Dundee goalkeeper Jack Hamilton was an unused sub for Hearts on that occasion.
Genseric Kusunga will have his hands full with the man-mountain that is David Vanecek, with the Czech striker looking for a first Hearts goal since arriving earlier this month.
Dundee have won just once on the road this season - a 2-0 win at Hamilton. Colin Doyle has conceded just twice in his last four games for the Jambos, keeping three clean sheets.
John Beaton takes charge of this match - his 28th involving Hearts. Of that total the Jambos have won eight, drawn four and lost 16.
The whistler’s 25 matches involving Dundee have produced eight wins, seven draws and ten defeats for the Dens Park side.
He is assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Joseph Lawson, with Steven Kirkland on fourth-official duties.