Hearts V Dundee Utd at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview
Hearts V Dundee Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Smith set for Hearts return
Hearts boss Gary Locke will welcome winger David Smith back from a knee injury for Friday night's Scottish Premiership clash with Dundee United.
There is also good news for the Gorgie manager with Jamie Walker almost recovered from a foot injury, although the 20-year-old is still a few weeks shy of returning to action.
Midfielder Callum Tapping (knee) will also miss the Tynecastle clash with United as he continues his search for fitness.
Brad McKay admits the club's on-going administration nightmare has left his Jambos future hanging in the balance.
The 20-year-old centre-back is approaching the final year of his contract but the stricken Gorgie outfit have a break clause in his deal that allows them to cut McKay free this summer.
And with the club no nearer to securing final confirmation from their Lithuanian owners on a rescue package that will hand control to millionaire businesswoman Ann Budge, McKay admits he is worried.
The Scotland Under-21 cap is one of 12 players who could eventually walk away from Tynecastle if the Jambos are unable to offer extended deals but McKay insists he wants to remain with Hearts.
He said: "At the moment I don't know what's happening. I'm still waiting to find out whether or not I'll be getting kept on. Obviously the survival of the club is the most important thing - but at this stage it becomes frustrating for all the boys whose futures are hanging in the balance.
"Obviously the future of the club is hanging in the balance too but it is frustrating not knowing whether we're going to be here or not. Right now it's just a waiting game.
"It won't faze me if I'm not kept on, though. I'm confident enough in my own ability that if things weren't to work out at Hearts then I'd be okay. But I'd love to stay at Hearts, they're the team I've wanted to play for since I was a wee boy.
"It's difficult for the boys to sit about and wait but there's nothing else you can do. You can't check if another team wants you, you've just got to wait until Hearts come out of administration. Until then you're helpless."
Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara believes his side will need to show the same fighting spirit which helped them overcome St Mirren.
The Tangerines came from behind to win 3-2 in a five-goal thriller at Tannadice last weekend thanks to a flurry of goals in the last 10 minutes after Saints had enjoyed a 2-0 first-half lead.
Now the Scottish Cup semi-finalists are preparing to go to the capital to face Gary Locke's side and McNamara knows it will be far from easy against the Edinburgh outfit.
McNamara said: "The boys have had a lot of credit for the manner in which they won last week.
"That was rightly so as they had to dig really deep to get the result and we'll have to show that kind of commitment and attitude again because Hearts will be very tough opponents.
"Even when we got to 2-2 against St Mirren we didn't settle and we wanted to get the winner.
"Sometimes you have to do that in football because it's always a good thing if you can score late goals.
"Hearts have had a tough time on and off the field this season so will be giving it their all. We're prepared for a hard match and it's one we're all looking forward to."
United face Rangers in the semi-final of the cup at Ibrox in April but McNamara insists they'll be focusing first and foremost on league business.
He said: "Rangers is obviously a big game. However, we have some very important games to play before that.
"They will be getting our full attention. That's the way we always look at things.
"We want to take as many points as possible between now and the end of the season and see where it takes us.
"Rangers in the cup will take care of itself and the league is always our priority.
"We've had some good results in the league in recent weeks which we hope to keep going.
"The lads are in good spirits and are enjoying being part of such a busy spell.
"You always enjoy your football more when you're winning and that's what we hope to do again on Friday.
"Tynecastle is a great place to go and play and hopefully we express ourselves like we can."
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