First Team

Full strength ahead

21st July 2017

Ian Cathro will continue to field the strongest side possible in Betfred Cup as Hearts welcome East Fife tomorrow.

Ian Cathro will continue to field the strongest side available to him throughout the group stage of the Betfred Cup as Hearts look to build on their winning start when East Fife visit Tynecastle tomorrow.

The Jambos ran out 1-0 winners away to Elgin City in midweek and the head coach won’t differentiate between preparing for league and League Cup fixtures because he just wants to win games.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference he said: “These are competitive games. The season has already started so it’s not a different situation to if these were league games.

“For me, the season has began, we’re in competition, we want to do well in the next couple of games and put in strong performances in the group stages of the Betfred Cup and things go on from there.

“I don’t like this idea that we’re almost calling them two different things; competitive games have started and then the league starts. The season has started so it’s a simpler situation for me.

“The first thing is that our aim was to go, play our first competitive game and we wanted to win the game, be in control and play as well as we could, but to go and make sure that we got a win to start of the group stage of the competition.

“So we done that, we’re now very much looking forward to the game at home, for a few reasons. One of them being that we know we’re not gong to play too many times at home in the short term, so we’re certainly looking forward to making sure that’s a positive day, and that we enjoy it.”

Ashley Smith-Brown was forced off in the first-half of the Elgin game through injury, though Ian insists there is no need to worry over the Manchester City loanee’s condition.

“We’re fine, in general,” he said. “Obviously it was a long trip, so yesterday was a light day for the guys who played.

“Injury wise, with Ash coming off it’s something we’ll continue to look at and we need to make sure we manage that properly. Outside of that there’s no other concerns.

“There’s just a little bit of discomfort and it’s something that we need to make sure we get to the bottom of and we do whatever we need to do to build him back up and have him fully ready.

“There’s no concern, there’s no major problem, it’s just something we need to manage.”