First Team

Craig has faith in squad depth

15th February 2019

Craig Levein has faith in the depth of his squad after his side were dealt another blow with the losses of Michael Smith and Demetri Mitchell.

"We've had it bad this season," Craig admitted. "Most of them are back, we're just waiting on Peter Haring. Michael [Smith] and Demi [Mitchell] are important players to us but we have enough bodies to cope and it just gives opportunities to other people."

One of those with an opportunity to impress will be right-back Marcus Godinho, who scored his first goal for the club three weeks ago against St Johnstone.

"Marcus was a bit unfortunate actually. He played and scored in his last match and then we went to Killie on the plastic pitch and, because he's had knee problems, I left him out the squad all together. He's had to be patient and he'll get his opportunity on Sunday to get back in."

Craig confirmed that Demetri's injury is a recurrence of the knee issue he picked up last year but was hopeful that Hearts fans would see the left-back in maroon before the end of the year.

"He's [Demetri] away back down to get treated. He's got a little tear in his meniscus. It might be six weeks and if that is case then he should be back for the latter part of the season."

Looking ahead to the weekend, the gaffer was under no illusions it will be an easy match against Motherwell despite the Jambos 100% record against the Steelmen this season.

"Motherwell have picked up since the winter break and have changed the way they play a little bit. They're in a good run of form. We always have tough matches against Motherwell and when I look at the fixture list and look at Motherwell away, it's always tough for us.

"Our recent record hasn't been too bad actually, but I don't think by any stretch of the imagination that we're going to go there and dominate this game, because they're a really good side and I have a lot of admiration for Stephen [Robinson]."

'Well are on a cracking run of form, picking up five league wins on the spin with an emergence of young talent coming through in David Turnbull and Jake Hastie.

"It's just a matter of recognising the differences between what they did previously and what they do now, and looking at ways we can take advantage of that or stop certain players playing in their team," Craig added.

"We've picked up and we'll get Peter [Haring] back. I don't know if he'll be back on Sunday to be honest but he'll certainly be back the following week. Having lost Mick and Demi is a bit of a blow but we aren't as injury-stricken as we were earlier on and I feel much more confident about being able to put a winning team out."

You can watch all of Craig's press conference by clicking here