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John Robertson <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> Levan Paniashvili
[D Rosa 30]
10 of 025 ----- E H

Maybury hungry for success


ALAN MAYBURY took a bite out of the Big Apple during his enforced break from the domestic game and now can’t wait to sink his teeth into Ferencvaros.

The Hearts defender has not featured for the Jambos since starring in the thrilling UEFA Cup triumph over Basel, a three-game league suspension seeing him miss the matches against Rangers, Dunfermline and Inverness.

Acknowledging his player had been feeling the effects of a hectic international schedule with the Republic of Ireland over the summer, boss John Robertson granted Maybury the opportunity of a few days off, the Dubliner helping to recharge his batteries with a short break in New York.

Suitably refreshed, the former Leeds United full-back has been back in training and is poised to return to the starting line-up tonight as the Gorgie outfit goes all out for victory over the Hungarians in the Group A showdown at Murrayfield.

The 26-year-old was disappointed to have been hit with a suspension following his questionable red card against Motherwell at Tynecastle, but admits the break may have been a blessing in disguise.

"It has been very frustrating," he said. "I thought my sending off was a bit harsh and then I got hit with a three-game ban.

"But trying to be positive about it, I played right up until the middle of June and had maybe three weeks off in the summer before coming back to training with Hearts - and it was maybe just starting to all catch up with me a bit.

"The boss was good enough to allow me a few days off to get away from everything but I have done some hard running now and also taken part in the football in training and am raring to go again.

"I want to play in as many games as possible but I think the break has done me good. I went to see my brother in New York. There has been a lot going on at the club and it was a chance just to take a step back and get away from everything for a while.

"It’s good to be back in though I’m just looking forward to getting back playing again.

"My last game was against Basel in Switzerland so tonight’s game has been a long time coming round."

Hearts go into tonight’s clash sitting in fourth place in the table, one point behind Christian Gross’ outfit.

Robertson’s men must ensure they emerge victorious and then hope Feyenoord can take something off Basel in the Stadion St Jakob Park if they are to reach the dizzy heights of the last 32 of the tournament.

The last scenario Maybury wants to see unfold is for the Dutch to cement their place as Group A winners with a good result against the Swiss only for the Jambos to fail to see off their opponents.

"We have given a fairly good account of ourselves in the group, apart from the game against Feyenoord in Holland when we shifted some goals," he said.

"All we can do is win the game. If things don’t go for us in the other match there’s not a lot we can do about it.

"The important thing is for us to do our bit. If Feyenoord beat Basel and we haven’t done our job then it will all have been a waste of time.

"We can only concentrate on what we can influence and that means trying to beat Ferencvaros."

Robertson and his No.2 Donald Park have conducted an in-depth briefing on the threat the visitors pose and Maybury knows the home side will have their work cut out to force the result they require.

"They are not a bad side," added the Irishman, who is one of a dozen first- team stars whose contracts expire in the summer.

"They knocked out Millwall to get into the group stage and have had some decent performances. We have had a look at them on video in an effort to get to know what to expect."

Rescued from the Leeds reserves by former boss Craig Levein, the Irishman has seen his career flourish in the SPL.

He became comfortable with the role asked of him by Levein but is also enjoying working under new man Robertson.

"The new boss is playing a different formation and it will take time," he said.

"The previous manager was here for nearly four years to drill into everyone how he wanted us to play.

"It was engrained in to us what we had to do and it will take a wee bit of time on the training pitch to get it right.

"We have had some good results and some good performances but it hasn’t quite all come together yet.

"He’s asked some people to do slightly different jobs and has brought in some new ideas and it has been good."


FEYENOORD and Schalke are already through but third place is still up for grabs with Basel, Hearts and Ferencvaros all in with a chance.

Basel, on four points from three matches, have their fate in their own hands and will advance with victory over the Dutch.

Basel could lose and still qualify on goal difference should Hearts, a point behind, only draw tonight. In such an event, the Gorgie outfit would go through only if Feyenoord beat Basel by four goals or more. Otherwise the Jambos must win and hope that Basel fail to do so.

Interestingly, a 1-0 win for the Swiss side would be enough to see both teams advance, Feyenoord as group winners.

Ferencvaros, bottom with one point, must win and see Basel lose to have a chance of advancing on goal difference.

Taken from the Scotsman

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