Neilson looks to fringe players
Robbie Neilson will give some of his table-topping Hearts players a rest against Forfar on Tuesday - but he still expects his second-string to march past the Loons.
The Jambos will travel north to Station Park for the League Cup second round tie high in spirits after storming to the Ladbrokes Premiership summit on the back of five straight wins.
But Neilson wants to give his fringe men a run out and sees the meeting with Dick Campbell's side as a suitable opportunity.
Midfielder Prince Buaben is still carrying a knock and will not be risked, while Jamie Walker is ruled out with a calf strain.
But Neilson will not use a weakened line-up as an excuse if his team do not progress.
Speaking to Hearts TV, he said: "These games are always difficult, it's a cup final for these teams. We'll no doubt bring a big crowd, so we have to make sure we start right.
"We've prepared well for it and we're treating it like we would any league game.
"It's important to utilise the squad, we've got a lot of guys who are desperate to get some game time. We've also got an eye on Saturday's game at Hamilton, but we want to progress in the cup so we'll go there with a strong team."
Saturday's 4-1 success over Stenhousemuir was expensive for Forfar ahead of facing Hearts, as Mark Baxter (ankle), Thomas O'Brien (hamstring) and Gavin Swankie (hamstring) have all been ruled out after picking up injuries against the Warriors.
Lewis Allan, who was brought in on loan from Hibs last week is also absent as he is cup-tied after featuring for the Easter Road side in the last round.
Station Park boss Campbell said: "It was a great win at the weekend, however I will have to make changes for Hearts.
"They have started the season well but then again so have we so we can have a real go."