I was one who wasn’t going to believe that David Obua would be granted a work permit until I seen it. We have had players knocked back in the past, most recently when Belarusian midfielder Gogita Gogua “ voted best newcomer in the Russian Premier League when playing for Spartak Nalchik. There was a time not too long before that when Dundee United were able to sign Hondurans and Ecuadorians no problem. To use an example.
Obua, himself Ugandan, left South African outfit Kaiser Chiefs under freedom of contract and recently said in an interview that he chose Tynecastle over moves to English Premiership or Serie A. West Ham United and Chievo were the sides interested but Obua decision was made easy by the of presence of manager Csaba Laszlo, who coached Obua during his time as national team boss. The 24-year-old has not joined the squad yet but will at the start of next week and should be in the squad to face Rangers the following Saturday. He comes highly recommended by Csaba and recently won four of the six awards he was nominated for at the annual Kaiser Chiefs players’ awards ceremony earlier in the year.
As well as Obua, Hearts will be without Ruben Palazuelos and Gary Glen, who are both suspended. During today’s press conference, Csaba Laszlo said that his side would also be without Christian Nade, who is still not ready, and Bruno Aguiar, who should begin training again next week. There was no mention about Robbie Neilson and Mirsad Beslija, who have both missed pre-season. According to Hearts World Neilson is on the road back and the less said about Beslija the better. £800,000!
It was also mentioned that trialist Mike Tullberg, a Danish striker, is back at the club for a second trial, after his first one lasted only twenty minutes and ended in injury. He’s a tall player and could just be the target man we need.
Another new recruit, although this one will venture no further than the bench “ and even then will merely fade into the œbackground “ is assistant manager Werner Burger. The German has previously coached at Schaffhausen and Red Star Zurich and knows Laszlo from his time in Germany. He claims that his calm personality will compliment Csaba during his more hot-blooded moments. He describes himself as a background figure there to aid and give advice to Csaba. I would have liked to have seen Scottish assistant, someone who knows the Scottish game, but it is not to be. I am not against the appointment; a manager should appoint someone he feels comfortable with and not be pressured to choose someone he doesn’t know just because he has experience of the league. Perhaps in due course a few Scottish coaches will be added to the set-up.
There should be a great atmosphere for the visit of Motherwell tomorrow. At least it will begin that way. Confidence amongst the supporters will have increased after the defeat of Hull and the ground must be close to selling out. The support can turn quickly however, and I just hope the support don’t expect too much too soon.
I think a win is on the cards tomorrow but more important for me will be if the side manage to take control of the game and pass the ball about. I’ve seen enough kick and run at Tynecastle over the last year even though we have players like Kingston who can dictate play.
Motherwell today added goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen, on-loan from Blackburn, and ex-Celt Jim O’Brien both will go into the squad for tomorrow but they will not replace the gap left in the side byt the departure of one of their top players Ross McCormack, who joined Cardiff under freedom of contract during the summer. Their forwards David Clarkson and Chris Porter will cause us problems but we didn’t concede too many goals in pre-season and think we will be able to keep a clean sheet tomorrow. Stephen Hughes is another player to watch out for. He impressed last season and is the engine in the Motherwell side. Despite these strengths I don’t think much of the Motherwell defence; to be honest I am not sure how much our attack will be able to take advantage of their frailties. This is the area where we are weakest but taking one of our chances could be all it takes.
With Lee Wallace returning from injury, saving us a left back crisis, I believe Hearts will line-up like this:
Thomson Zaliukas Berra Wallace
Kingston Stewart Jonsson Driver
I would prefer to see Christos Karipidis in for Thomson or Zaliukas but either Csaba prefers Zaliukas as a centre half or the rumours about Karipidis returning to Greece are true. I would also have Kingston in the centre of midfield as he is by far our best player at taking the ball and making things happen. Stewart’s passing leaves a lot to be desired at times but maybe under a new boss he can finally hit some form.
I do not see many goals in tomorrow’s match but I do have a feeling our new boss will get us off to a winning start. ˜Mon the Hearts!!
Possible Motherwell team:
Quinn Craigan Reynolds Hammell
Lasley Malcolm Hughes
D.Smith Porter Clarkson
Prediction: 1-0 Hearts