Hearts V Inverness CT at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

22 February 2013 06:01
Hearts V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Barr in contention for Jambos

Darren Barr could yet play a part in Hearts' meeting with Inverness - despite being stretchered off with a head injury in last week's defeat to Kilmarnock.

The Jambos defender collided with team-mate Danny Wilson in the 3-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League loss to the Rugby Park men but trained yesterday after doctors decided the clash was not as bad as first feared.

Long-term absentees Jamie Hamill (knee), Marius Zaliukas (ankle) and Callum Patterson (foot) remain unavailable to boss John McGlynn as he prepares for Caley Thistle's visit to Tynecastle, while Andy Driver departs for Houston Dynamo. However, Ryan Stevenson does return from suspension.

Hearts boss John McGlynn insists letting top earner Driver move to America makes financial sense for the cash-strapped club.

Driver, 25, has signed on loan for MLS outfit Houston Dynamo until the end of the season, when he will complete a permanent switch.

But despite having four months left to run on his contract and recently showing signs that he may be hitting top form after two years of injury woes, McGlynn admits relieving the club of Driver's weekly wage - believed to be in the region of #10,000 - was an opportunity not to be missed.

Hearts were issued with a winding-up order by HMRC late last year over a unpaid #450,000 tax bill and have also been forced to negotiate a repayment plan for another due sum totalling #1.75million.

McGlynn said: "From the manager's point of view you always want as many players as you can, but it probably made sense.

"I think everyone would realise that Andrew is one of the big hitters with regards to salary.

"The football club is trying to cut back and he had an opportunity to do something that he felt was right for him and both parties came to an amicable agreement that left him do his part going to America.

"It's not easy because I've known Andrew for a long, long time, probably from the Under-14s or 15s when we were down training at Musselburgh.

"The pinnacle would have been winning the Scottish Cup on May 19 last year. It's great for him but it would have been nice to have kept him until the end of the season.

"The people above are letting Andrew go because it is a burden on the football club."

Inverness will still be without captain Richie Foran but manager Terry Butcher expects the forward to return from a knee injury next week.

Simon King (ankle) and Chris Hogg (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Owain Tudur Jones admits Inverness have to arrest their current decline or else they could find themselves sliding all the way down to the wrong end of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The Highlanders' impressive mid-season form took them to the heady heights of second place behind Celtic, but Terry Butcher's side have drawn just one of their last six games and were leapfrogged by Motherwell with a 3-0 defeat by the Steelmen at Fir Park last week.

Ahead of Saturday's game at Tynecastle, Wales international Tudur Jones, aware that only 11 points separate Well from second-bottom, said: "We could finish anywhere in the league, apart from top or bottom, there is no question of that.

"The team hasn't changed that much. If you take the Motherwell game out of it we have been playing pretty good on the whole, and because of how well we have done for the majority of the season it almost gave us the cushion for when this little spell came.

"We were obviously hoping it didn't come but it has. However, we are still above most of the teams but this run can't carry on or else teams will start to pass us, as Motherwell did last week.

"But we are fine, we are feeling good and confident and ready to go again. The team hasn't changed over the last two months, only one or two, and we have a lot of faith in each other.

"We are stepping out on the pitch and feeling really comfortable with our team-mates and thinking we can score goals and win games.

"It hasn't been the case recently but, Celtic apart, everyone else is inconsistent and the league is bunched. So it makes for a very interesting end to the season.

"We are playing against sides before the split who haven't beaten us this season so that gives us bit of a boost.

"It is only Celtic, Motherwell and St Mirren who have beaten us in the league, so we will take a lot of heart in that record and do all we can to make sure it continues."

Source: PA