Darren Barr keen to impress on rare start for Hearts

DARREN BARR gets a rare chance to impress Paulo Sergio tomorrow evening with his first league start under the Hearts manager, who is without the injured Jamie Hamill against Aberdeen.

Hamill was stretchered off during the second half of Saturday’s victory over Motherwell and will miss the trip to Pittodrie. He is also doubtful for Monday’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.

After recovering from hernia surgery, Barr is primed to deputise at right-back. He replaced Hamill at the weekend to make only his second appearance since Sergio took charge at Tynecastle. The 26-year-old is expected to feature from the start tomorrow as Sergio prepares to rotate his squad ahead of the derby. “Players have to wait for their chance and be ready to grab that chance when it’s there,” said the manager. “I told them that maybe I’m going to make some changes and I’m sure I will because I trust them. Sometimes players want to play, and I want that. I don’t want players happy when they don’t play. But I want them to respect the decision because it’s my job. I hope when I put them on the pitch they are ready to grab their chances and make the Hearts supporters happy. I trust that we can make some changes for the Aberdeen game and fight for the points.”

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Andy Driver could also start at Pittodrie, with Sergio emphasising the need to maintain a high level of performance after Hearts recorded successive home wins against Dunfermline and Motherwell.

“I want my team playing the same way in every place,” he told the Hearts website. “We should show our attitude, our identity, and I’m sure we’re going to do it there. What I say to my players is ‘focus on the performance’. We should be focused on what we have to do because the result comes with it.

“This is a tight league, there is not a big difference between the teams. Each game has its history. Everybody can beat us but we can beat everybody too. If we do our jobs properly, I trust that we can pick up the points at Aberdeen.”

Young Hearts players Conrad Balatoni and Robert Ogleby have returned to Riccarton after completing their respective loan spells at Partick Thistle and East Fife.