With Hearts looking to secure promotion ASAP, where do the team need to improve in 2021?
On paper, the Jambos’ defence is pretty strong. They’ve arguably the best goalkeeper in the land in Craig Gordon with two full backs, Michael Smith and Stephen Kingsley, who’d make their way in to most starting XI’s in Scotland. Craig Halkett is starting to show the consistent form that suggested he was kicking on to an international call-up. Who is his best centre back pairing though? Berra or Popescu? Will John Souttar make a return? Manager Robbie Neilson will be adding a centre back to his list.
In midfield, Hearts have a solid middle with, arguably, too many options. Olly Lee, Andy Halliday, Peter Haring, Andy Irving and Jamie Walker. Where do they all go? After what feels like years of injuries it’s pleasing for the Jambos to have genuine selection issues for the right reasons. It’s on the flanks that Hearts need some depth. Josh Ginnelly looks a find but he’s on loan and struggled with injury. Elliot Frear and Jordan Roberts haven’t quite cut it yet and an improved Aidy White feels like he’s always on probation with the Hearts faithful. Another for the manager’s list.
Up top, Liam Boyce is starting to demonstrate his calibre and Steven Naismith is staying fit. Craig Wighton casts a peripheral figure again but has shown promise. The maroon firepower should be enough for the Championship but Neilson will be looking for some more might with his eyes on bigger prizes.