Kilmarnock v Hearts team news and probable line-ups: Star returns to training | MacPhee audition continues | tweak to starting XI?
Hearts go into Saturday's clash looking to gain successive victories for the first time in the league this season
Austin MacPhee's audition to become the next manager of Hearts will continue this weekend as the interim boss takes his team to Kilmarnock.
Hearts were able to reserve a few trends from this season when they defeated St Mirren 5-2 at Tynecastle last time out and they'll go to Ayrshire with renewed optimism.
The club reportedly have their eye on Daniel Stendel as their next manager, but with a few hurdles to overcome before a deal is completed, the chance is still there for former assistant MacPhee to land the role if he continues to win.
With no fresh injury concerns it's likely MacPhee will go with roughly the same starting XI as the St Mirren match. One potential change could come on the left wing after Jake Mulraney impressed in relief of Aidy White in the 5-2 triumph.
Hearts team news: Craig Halkett is back in training but this weekend's clash will come too soon for the defender. Peter Haring, Ben Garuccio, Conor Washington and John Souttar remain long-term absentees.
Probable Hearts XI: Pereira; Smith, Dikamona, Berra, Hickey; Irving; Ikpeazu, Bozanic, Walker, Mulraney; Naismith.
Kilmarnock team news: The hosts will be without Scottish international defender Stuart Findlay, who is a long-term casualty with a tendon injury. Ex-Hearts striker Osman Sow is not yet fully fit.
Probable Kilmarnock XI: Branescu; O'Donnell, Del Fabro, Bruce, Hamalainen; Burke, Power, El Makrini, Dicker, Millar; Brophy.
Key clash: Whether they have a manager or not, Hearts are a much scarier proposition for opponents when Steven Naismith is in the line-up. Fresh off scoring his tenth goal for Scotland in midweek, the 33-year-old is once again expected to lead the attack. He'll be going against a Killie side without star defender Stuart Findlay, but in Dario Del Fabro and Alex Bruce they have enough competent cover.
Last meeting: Hearts were defeated 1-0 at Tynecastle thanks to a late first-half own goal by Jake Mulraney.
Match details: Saturday, 23rd November. Rugby Park. Kick-off 3.00pm. Tickets for the away end are still available via the Hearts website. There will also be cash only tickets available from a ticket booth across from the Chadwick Stand. The game will not be broadcast live or repeated on BBC Alba.
Referee: Hearts have encountered Bobby Madden only once this season - the Betfred Cup last 16 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park.
Odds: Kilmarnock 29/20 Draw 21/10 Hearts 2/1