Craig Levein has nearly settled on his starting XI for next week’s 2018/19 curtain raiser against Cove Rangers, but has revealed there will be final chance for some to play their way into his thoughts at Forfar on Saturday.
The Jambos begin their Betfred Cup campaign next week with a trip to Highland League outfit Cove and the manager has seen enough in the four pre-season friendlies so far to give him a good idea of who will pull on the maroon jersey at the Balmoral Stadium.
He admits though that there is one more opportunity for some to impress and force their way in when his side face Forfar Athletic at Station Park on Saturday.
Speaking to HeartsTV, he said: “Yes, we’re starting to finalise what the starting eleven will be going into the Betfred Cup.
“There is obviously more competition for places. Some players did themselves some good last night, others maybe not so good.
“I’m just watching in training and watching in games and we’ll settle on the team after Saturday.
“There’s a final chance for some of the boys to impress at Forfar on Saturday, for sure.
“We’ll see how that goes then we go up to Cove next Wednesday and that’s the start of it again. I can’t wait.”
Hearts fell to a single-goal defeat against Queen of the South last night after Michael Smith’s unfortunate own goal.
The manager saw plenty of positives on display at Palmerston Park but was left to rue the final ball from attacking positions.
“It was another good run out,” he said. “We got a wee fright, which is good.
“We had a lot of possession and a lot of good things happened but we needed to be more clinical in the last third of the field.
“We had opportunities to do so. It’s maybe explainable that we had a few of our best forward players missing, which certainly would’ve helped us.
“Defensively we were good again. Michael’s just unfortunate; he miscued his clearance and put it into our own net rather than get it out of the box.
“These things happen and I’d much rather they happen in pre-season than when the games start.”
Craig’s interview is available to watch in full on HeartsTV.