Hearts are on a dangerous slide towards the bottom right now and the new manager has more than a few things to sort out.
Current interim boss Austin MacPhee has hinted that this new man will be in place for the weekend or early next week (BBC). That man is widely believed to be Daniel Stendel, who Hearts have reportedly offered the job to (BBC).
After a 1-1 home draw with Livingston, the Jambos now sit ninth in the Premiership with a relegation fight looking likely if things don’t pick up. They’ve won two of their 15 league games this term.
Change is needed and here are five things the new boss must do in order to help his Hearts chances.
Connect with the Hearts support
Stendel is known to be a man of the people. In the hours after his Barnsley sacking he could be found in the local boozer with fans. It’s this type of comradery with the fans that is urgently needed at Hearts.
For over a year now supporters have felt disassociated with the management team. Protests were launched against Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee’s interim reign hasn’t been plain sailing either.
Hearts need someone with passion and the ability to get fans to buy into their ethos and ambitions.
Sort out the goalkeeper department
At Tynecastle currently, Zdenek Zlamal, Joel Pereira and Colin Doyle are all competing for the number one spot. If truth be told, none of them really deserve it.
Zlamal’s been bombed into third choice after a string of errors early on this season, but was restored to the lineup against Livi. That tells you all you need to know about Pereira, who’s looked unconvincing in recent weeks and has kept two clean sheets in ten games.
Doyle meanwhile hasn’t been able to captialise on his teammates’ patchy form, whether that be through his own form or injury. None of the Jambos stoppers look convincing and a new one is needed in January.
Be careful with Hickey
Aaron Hickey’s undoubtedly one of the Jambos academy’s hottest prospects, but signs similar to Harry Cochrane’s dip have started to show in the talented teenager.
After an explosive start at the end of last term and this season, he’s starting to be relied upon too heavily. From moves about the backline to a being substituted at half time against Killie, it hasn’t been the best few weeks.
You could say it’s a steep learning curve but you could also say it threatens to do him more harm than good. Hickey is the poster boy for the academy and his development must be managed.
Build up home form
Two wins in the league at Tynecastle since March isn’t acceptable by Hearts standards. It’s just four in over a year, which isn’t good enough for any team never mind the Jambos.
Tynecastle should be an intimidating place for the opposition, but growing tensions have made it that for home players. The new manager needs them playing with swagger in Gorgie again to get the support fully on their side.
Pick a settled Hearts XI
Through injury and form, Hearts haven’t been able to pick the same XI consistently in the league this term. So far, they have had a different starting XI in each of their 15 league games.
It’s hardly a breeding ground for consistency. That’s not an excuse for results of late but it may be a factor. Where possible, the new boss has to try and rectify that and find the best Jambos XI quickly.