Dundee United’s extremely busy schedule continues as Hearts arrive at Tannadice tonight. The Edinburgh club currently occupy the third-place in the table claimed by the Terrors last season. Indeed with a thirteen-point advantage over their nearest challengers Kilmarnock, together with a ten-point deficit on Rangers in second, the Jambos already look certain to finish there come the end of the season. But their latest opponents have recently recorded three successive league victories and risen to fifth in the division, and would actually move up a further place with another win and to within twelve points of Jim Jefferies’ side – and with still one game in hand on them.
“I have a lot of admiration for Hearts, certainly for the two guys running the team,” Dundee United boss Peter Houston told BBC Scotland. “I worked for them for years and I like them personally and professionally. I said last year when they got the job they were the best two guys for the job. What they’ve done is even better than I thought they would do. The season they’ve had has been absolutely sensational. They’ve won loads of games and they are at least the third best team in the league this season, there’s no question about that.”
“We should be feeling confident and under no pressure but we didn’t play very well in the last couple of games and we have to change something and play better football and bring back three points,” Hearts midfielder Rudi Skacel told BBC Scotland. “It’s not the end of the season. So far I have enjoyed it but we’re not playing the way we were earlier in the season. We have to show the attitude and fight as we did before. We have a young squad, you can’t expect to play the same football all season, but we have to try our best.”
Dundee United Team News:
Defender Garry Kenneth is available after recovering from injury and making the bench against Motherwell. However, winger Craig Conway will need a check on a thigh problem, while Darren Dods and Scott Severin are again confined to watching from the stands.
Dundee United (from): Pernis, Dillon, Watson, Douglas, Van der Meulen, D. Robertson, S. Robertson, Swanson, Buaben, Russell, Gomis, Goodwillie, Daly, Shala, Dixon, Conway, Kenneth, Kovacevic, Banks
Player to watch: Danny Swanson
Has been deservedly receiving plenty of praise from his manager for his recent performances.
Hearts Team News:
Hearts will be missing suspended pair Eggert Jonsson and Ruben Palazuelos in addition to striker Kevin Kyle. Lee Wallace and Rudi Skacel are also doubtful, while Ian Black and Jason Thomson return.
Hearts (from): Kello, Bouzid, Zaliukas, Stevenson, Driver, Elliott, Skacel, Glen, Mrowiec, C. Thomson, Wallace, J. Thomson, Santana, Balogh, Webster, Barr, Templeton, Black
Player to watch: Rudi Skacel
Influential Czech midfielder who will be a big loss to the visitors if he fails to make it.
Match Facts & Stats
Dundee United’s weekend draw with Motherwell in the Scottish Cup followed three successive league victories against Hamilton Academical, Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Hearts’ impressive form has rather dipped since their recent home victory against the Taysiders, with a scoreless draw at Aberdeen being the forerunner of a surprise defeat to Kilmarnock at Tynecastle.