First Team

Duo can prove fitness

28th December 2018

Craig Levein insists he’ll give Arnaud Djoum and Peter Haring every opportunity to be involved in tomorrow’s Edinburgh derby.

The midfield pair were substituted during Hearts’ 2-0 win over Hamilton Accies on Wednesday after both players picked up knocks.

Craig revealed that the duo will be involved in today’s training session and he’s prepared to wait until the day of the game to make the call on whether or not they will take part in proceedings at Easter Road.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, he said: “I’ve got question marks over Arnaud and Peter, who both came off the other night.

“They’re going to do something today – as much as they can manage – and I’ll have a better idea.

“They’re both important players. If I thought that leaving the decision until tomorrow was an option, just to give them an opportunity to be involved, then I would do that.”

The Jambos take on their city rivals in the final match of 2018, looking to finish the year on a high.

A veteran of Edinburgh derbies, as both player and manager, Craig has experienced all of the highs and lows associated with the fixture.

He can’t wait for kick-off on Saturday as he believes his team are in a better place than they were a few weeks ago.

“This is a fixture that I love and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I can feel it and I can see it in the players that they’re starting to get their mojo back and believe a little bit again.

“Confidence is the thing that, as a manager, if you could bottle it, then it would be the most important thing.

“Because the level that we’re playing at, you’re not dealing with the very, very, very best players who can – and even some of those can’t – take knocks and still perform at the very highest level.

“Psychologically, getting that team mentality right is critical. We had that earlier on in the season then the run of results cost us and that became a little bit more diluted.

“Now we’re getting Christophe Berra back and Naisy back and the influence those two have on the team make us do a little bit better, and it makes it better for us going into this game.”

Craig’s pre-match press conference is available to watch in full by clicking here.