Inverness make the first of two consecutive trips to the capital with a Tuesday night game against Hearts at Tynecastle in a 19:45 kick off.
On Sunday we continue our mission to retain the Scottish Cup at Easter Road, but it's the Tynecastle game we will concentrate on for now.
Hearts sit comfortably in third place in the Premiership on 47 points, fourteen ahead of Inverness who are just outside the top-six, but theoretically could jump into fourth place with a win over the Jambos. The Gorgie side are the second top scorers in the league and can also boast the second best defensive record as well. They have just one defeat in their last nine league games, at the hands of a battling Dundee United, although four of the other eight games were draws.
Inverness are in the congested area between fourth and eleventh, separated by just eight points, and a quick learning Dundee United who are making a late charge to stave off relegation. We have two defeats in the last nine games with three wins and four draws, so there's not that much between the sides in terms of current form.
In the only meeting between the clubs this season, Inverness recorded their first win in a 2-0 victory over the much fancied Hearts side. James Vincent opened the scoring that day and Miles Storey opened his account on his debut. How we could do with some more goals from our young striker now to end his barren spell. No goals in nine games since he scored against Ross County on January 2nd. I'll discount his credited goal against Motherwell as it was clear that Steven McManus knocked the ball home, Miles was miles away from the ball.
Losing a two goal lead against their bitter city rivals Hibernian, then losing the replay will have knocked the confidence from Hearts young squad somewhat. That was followed by a 2-1 loss at Tannadice, although the Arabs are on a bit of a resurgence, but nonetheless their form has been more erratic in recent weeks which will give Yogi's lads plenty of optimism about facing Hearts.
Robbie Neilson had made five changes to the side that faced Kilmarnock from the previous game. Callum Paterson could shrug off a shoulder injury from the Killie game and Jordan McGhee is free from suspension having missed the win over Killie. Liam Smith is ready to fill in should Paterson not recover in time. Otherwise, Hearts should have an unchanged side unless tactical changes are made.
John Hughes conceded that we played second fiddle to Dundee, especially after we went ahead, and will be looking to change that. David Raven has missed the last three games with Lewis Horner deputising. Josh Meekings, James Vincent and Alex Fisher are out with Foran and Doran on the permanent casualty list. Andrea Mutombo missed out at Dundee, but that was seen as precautionary with bigger games coming up. Danny Williams will start in place of the suspended Ross Draper.
tm4tj Prediction:- Well, if we try to defend in depth against the free scoring Jambos I fear for our goal difference. We struggled badly at Dens Park looking to hold what we had, but we surrendered territory and paid the price at the end. Jordan Roberts will be a key figure for us along with Miles Storey, but it's our defence that will have to work hardest to keep the eager Tynecastle lads at bay. Our midfield should be able to compete with a Don Cowie fuelled Hearts engine room and that will be another important area where we need to challenge well and set the ball rolling. Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker will be lively customers and we have to make sure they are not given the freedom of Tynecastle, but with Osman Sow off to China then we might have enough to stifle the free flowing Jambos. Score draw at best, but we need to be on our toes until the final whistle. A win would be a huge bonus, defeat keeps us deep in the mid-table dog fight.