London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Mon 17 Aug 2009 Dundee United 2 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Scotsman ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Stuart Bathgate auth-> Steve Conroy
Stewart Michael [D Cadamarteri pen 3] ;[D Cadamarteri 86]
5 of 018 ----- L SPL A

Injury-free night at Tannadice would be sufficient for Hearts

HEARTS claimed third place in the SPL – and the Europa League spot which accompanied it – with an emphatic 3-0 win over Dundee United at Tynecastle last season. A similar result at Tannadice this evening would set them up perfectly for their match in the new European competition against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday, though, realistically, they will be happy to avoid defeat and any lengthening of their casualty list.
There could hardly be a tougher start to the season for Csaba Laszlo's team than the one they have been given, with a match against Rangers on Sunday and then the return leg against the Croatian champions on Thursday coming hot on the heels of the tw o they face this week. They have enjoyed a solid if unspectacular pre-season, however, having drawn their two friendlies against Bolton and Sunderland, and will be in better fettle for the visit to Zagreb than they would have been after a string of easy games.

Laszlo's line-up for this evening is likely to be close to the one which starts on Thursday, with perhaps the only difference being in central defence where Marius Zaliukas misses out on the SPL opener because of suspension. The Lithuanian, appointed deputy club captain to Michael Stewart last week, is expected to play alongside close-season recruit Ismael Bouzid on Thursday, but his place this evening will go to either Jose Goncalves or Dawid Kucharski.

With striker Calum Elliot not yet ready to return, Laszlo will gave to decide whether to pair Christian Nade and David Witteveen up front or opt for a single target man. The absence of winger Andy Driver, who, like Elliot, is making his way back from injury, should mean David Obua starting out wide on one side with Suso Santana on the other. Laryea Kingston is also out, but Hearts are so accustomed to being without him that his absence, for all his talent, hardly counts as a blow.

United, meanwhile, will be without captain and centre-back Lee Wilkie and strikers Jon Daly, Kevin Smith and Francisco Sandaza. Goalkeeper Nicky Weaver is expected to make his debut for Craig Levein's team, as are Danny Cadamarteri, Jennison Myrie-Williams and former Hearts defender Andy Webster, on loan from Rangers.

After being pipped by Aberdeen for a place in Europe, United are keen to ensure a top-four finish this season. Their Croatian full-back Mihael Kovacevic admitted to being envious of Hearts when he heard the Europa League draw – he used to play for Dinamo Zagreb and would have loved to turn out against his former club. "It would have been perfect if United were in Europe playing them," he said.

"I think it will be a very good match. Zagreb are probably a better team than Hearts, but there won't be much in it. A lot will depend on how Hearts do in the game this week."

Kovacevic, who has been preferred to Sean Dillon at right-back for much of the pre-season campaign, believes that victory this evening will give United's confidence a significant fillip. "We are ready for Hearts," he continued. "It has been a hard summer, we have done a lot of work, and everything has been geared up for us to win this game.

"Now it is up to the players to get the points we need to start the season positively. Hearts are a good team, they beat us when we played last season, so it would be nice to do it to them as well.

"I wouldn't say we will be motivated by revenge for that defeat at Tynecastle because it is a new season and that game is gone now. What would be good, though, would be to start the season off with a victory over one of the top teams. Our confidence would take a massive boost and it would help us in the other games."

Taken from the Scotsman

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