Hearts V Motherwell at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

01 March 2013 05:01
Hearts V Motherwell - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Locke has players' backing - Webster

Hearts defender Andy Webster insists interim boss Gary Locke will have the backing of the Tynecastle squad if he puts his name forward to replace John McGlynn.

The Jambos first-team coach has been asked to take care of team matters alongside player development manager Darren Murray after McGlynn was relieved of his post.

His first match in charge will be the Gorgie clash with Motherwell but the former club captain was reluctant to speculate on whether he would still be picking the team by the time they run out at Hampden for the Scottish Communities League Cup final against St Mirren on March 17.

But should he decide to apply for the job, centre-back Webster insists he will be able to call upon the first-team members for a glowing reference.

He said: "That's a decision for the board to take but Lockey knows what it means to be at this football club as a player and a coach and the boys will be right behind him."

McGlynn was sacked after winning just eight of the 34 games he presided over as Hearts boss.

But Webster insists some of the flak that has gone the former manager's way is down to the players and their sub-standard displays.

He said: "Under the circumstances, of course it's been a difficult few days. It's never a nice situation to be in.

"In terms of results, we are where we are in the league but whether you are a player or a manager, results determine what's going to happen. For us to be in the situation we are is not acceptable.

"Do the players take a certain amount of responsibility for that? Yeah, and not just for the recent weeks, but from the start of the season.

"Individually and collectively, we need to take responsibility. The manager sets us up the way he wants and going out on the pitch we are more than capable of winning matches and it's not happened."

Locke has Ryan Stevenson back in his squad for the clash following a three-match suspension.

His only concern is over the fitness of Michael Ngoo, but the on-loan Liverpool striker is expected to shake off a knock sustained in Paisley to lead the Jambos attack.

Scott Robinson (knee), Danny Grainger (knee), Marius Zaliukas (ankle) and Callum Patterson (foot) remain on the sidelines, while Jamie Hamill is still working his way back from knee surgery.

Meanwhile, Motherwell boss Stuart McCall has told his out-of-contract players the quicker they can seal a top-six slot, the quicker he can deal them in for next season.

The Fir Park side have 10 players whose contracts expire in the summer.

But financial constraints mean McCall cannot finalise his first-team budget for next term until he knows exactly how much the club will earn in prize money for this year`s Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign.

Well - who lie currently second in the SPL - need just three wins to secure their place in the top half for the post-split run-in.

Now McCall has told those players whose deals lapse at the end of May - Michael Higdon, Darren Randolph, Tom Hateley, Steven Saunders, Nicky Law, Chris Humphrey, Omar Daley, Robert McHugh, Simon Ramsden and James McFadden - to secure the necessary points as soon as possible so he can open negotiations.

The manager - who hopes to finalise a new deal of his own early next week - said: "I`ve spoken to the agents and got a heads up for where most people are going to be.

"But until we get to the top six, we can`t look to offer deals because we don`t want to offer people contracts that we can`t afford.

"It`s where we are with the finances of the game. There are no guarantees where you are going to be.

"I look to last season when Keith Lasley and Stevie Hammell had to be persuaded to stay over a shandy when we were away at the end of the season.

"It`s not ideal when it goes to that stage but at least then you are not giving false promises.

"The majority just want to know if they are wanted and with us, the majority are.

"If in five games' time we are in the top six, we might be able to have a look at things at that point."

Hateley and Fraser Kerr will both return to the Motherwell squad.

A thigh problem ruled right-back Hateley out of Wednesday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Celtic, while Kerr has also recovered from illness.

However, McCall was keeping his cards close to his chest as he said an unnamed defender was in danger of missing the trip to Edinburgh.

Source: PA