Hearts v Hibs team news and probable line-ups: Key men missing on both sides | long-term absentees return to training | pre-match favourites

Everything you need to know ahead of the Boxing Day derby.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 4:02 pm

The two Edinburgh clubs will meet for the second time this season on Boxing Day as Hibs travel to Tynecastle in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Hearts are still looking for their first points under new head coach Daniel Stendel, who has been away from the squad since Saturday's defeat to Hamilton in order to attend to a "personal matter" back in Germany.

The hosts are bottom of the table, three points adrift of their nearest rivals after losing each of their last four games.

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Scott Allan and Loic Damour battle for possession during the last meeting between the sides. Picture: SNS

Hibs have fared better under Jack Ross, who replaced Paul Heckingbottom in November, but have managed only one victory in their last five encounters. They'll be seeking to move back into the top six before the winter break.

Stendel will likely ring the changes once again as he searches for a winning formula from his much-maligned squad. And while Ross will have a clearer idea of his best XI, he too will likely make a couple of tweaks after a disappointing performance against Rangers last time out.

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Hearts team news: Steven Naismith is a major doubt with a hamstring injury. Conor Washington has returned to full training though this match will likely come too soon for the Northern Irish international. Captain Christophe Berra returns from suspension. He'll marshall a depleted back-line with Jamie Brandon joining long-term absentees John Souttar and Ben Garuccio on the treatment table.

Probable Hearts line-up: Pereira; Clare, Halkett, Berra, Hickey; Damour, Smith; Mulraney, Bozanic, Wighton; Ikpeazu.

Hibs team news: Ryan Porteous is suspended for the derby after his red card against Rangers. Darren McGregor is in line for his first start since August after coming on as substitute in Friday's defeat at Easter Road. Fellow veteran David Gray has returned to training but is not expected to play any part on Thursday. Joe Newell remains out.

Probable Hibs line-up: Marciano; Naismith, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson; Hallberg, Slivka, Allan; Boyle, Doidge, Kamberi.

Key clash: If Hibs revert out of the 4-4-2 diamond then there's a chance that Florian Kamberi will start on the left wing against Sean Clare as Hearts' make-shift right-back, which is definitely something Hibs will look to exploit. At the other end, Uche Ikpeazu will be looking to score in his third derby in succession as he renews his battle with McGregor, who missed out through injury in the last derby.

Last meeting: Hearts won their first league game of the season and ramped up the pressure on embattled boss Heckingbottom with a 2-1, come-from-behind victory over their rivals at Easter Road. Uche Ikpeazu and Aaron Hickey got the goals after a stunning strike from Stevie Mallan had given Hibs the lead.

Match details: Thursday, 26 December. Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh. Kick-off 12.30pm. Live on Sky Sports Football.

Referee: Don Robertson takes charge of his first Edinburgh derby. His last match involving Hearts saw them lose 5-0 at Rangers, while Hibs were held to a 1-1 draw away to Aberdeen.

Match odds: Hearts 6/4 Draw 23/10 Hibs 7/4