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Saints And Hearts Focus On League
Both sides want to forget their League Cup exits with a win in the league Derek McInnes wants his players to use the pain suffered at losing out against St Mirren in the League Cup as motivation when hearts come along to McDairmid Park today. Today game against Hearts starts a tough run of games in six days, which sees the Perth side also face Hibs and Kilmarnock, and McInnes insists his players must now move on from the cup disappointment. He said: "We are out now and there is no point dwelling on it. We just need to use it as extra motivation to kick on now in the league. Hopefully we can do that because we have a tough fixture coming up and we have three games in six days, which is really going to stretch the squad with the injuries we've got. We've got to pick up points before the next international break.'' McInnes will be without defender Frazer Wright (calf) today, while Jody Morris, Kevin Moon, Sam Parkin, Callum Davidson, Graham Gartland and Murray Davidson are all likely to remain on the sidelines. Sunday's game means a chance to make amends in front of their owns fans at McDiarmid Park. McInnes added: "Home or away, we just have to make sure we put in a better performance. Over the course of the last few seasons we have been in charge here, very few times has the team been out-fought and I thought we were the other night. We have to make sure we are hungry again on Sunday and, on the back of that hunger and determination, that we bring a good performance to the game as well. If we can do that, we will be more than happy.'' Hearts are also wanting to ease some of the pain suffered in the league Cup. They left the competition at the hands of Ayr United who won 4-1 on penalties after 120 minutes where the sides could not be separated. McInnes said: "I was down at the game and they still had a very strong side out. You can see the depth of their squad. He managed to rest eight from Saturday's game against St Mirren and I would expect them to be along similar lines to that game rather than the cup game. I felt that Ayr battled away, they fought their corner, and it paid off for them. Hearts were decent at times but it's difficult to judge because I think they will be more like the team who played St Mirren the Saturday before.'' Paulo Sergio will have Andy Webster and Andrew Driver available for hearts today after they were passed fit but Marian Kello, Kevin Kyle, Gary Glen and Calum Elliot will still have to stay out of the manager's plans for now. Full-back Danny Grainger is not surprised his former club start the season so well despite a number of summer changes. Saints lost Grainger and Michael Duberry from their regular back four but have continued their impressive defensive record from last season, having yet to concede a goal away from home. The Perth Saints only scored 23 goals in the SPL last season, less than relegated Hamilton, but the arrival of Francisco Sandaza has given them a lift with the Spaniard already on six goals. So Grainger expects a tough afternoon when Hearts head to Perth today. He said: "You don't get any easy games in the SPL. Going back to McDiarmid will be difficult, they seem to have solved their goalscoring problems with Sandaza and Cillian Sheridan. There were players there when I was there who were more than capable of filling in when the likes of me and Doobs (Duberry) were going to leave. You have Dave Mackay, Alan Maybury and Steven Anderson who were there last year, who played a massive part when we went on a good run. I still speak to quite a lot of them, I'm very close to the likes of Liam Craig, Murray Davidson and Graham Gartland so it's going to be strange going back there.'' The former Gretna and Dundee United left-back has no regrets about moving to hearts despite the man who signed him, Jim Jefferies, being replaced by Paulo Sergio early in the season. Grainger said: "I'm really enjoying it, I'm enjoying the banter in the dressing room and loving the football. Now we are all starting to get used to the new manager and it's starting to show on the pitch."
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