Since the winter break, Sean Clare has been reborn at Hearts. He was a missing figure for his first few months in Edinburgh, but now he is firmly in the Tynecastle spotlight.
He has scored two good goals since January, and his performances in general have been better, with an apparent hunger and desire to succeed emerging from within the forward. With Aidan Keena returning, and Uche Ikpeazu coming back from injury, this weekend may prove to be the biggest of his Hearts career.
It’ll be a massive test against an in-form Motherwell side, and if he doesn’t perform, he could find himself back on the bench.
Goals have to start coming
His all round performances have been good, and with it, goals have came. He’s clearly learning a lot from playing with Steven Naismith, Hearts’ main hitman.
Clare’s goals have shown the deadly capability he possesses. His first time curler against Livingston in the Scottish Cup was a goal which required great technique. His other strike against Killie was sweet as well, showing quick feet before finding the bottom corner with ease. It seems Clare has a thing for eye-catching goals.
Despite his good form, it doesn’t yet make up for his poor start in Gorgie. He’s been weak in front of goal for the most part of the season, and Hearts have plenty of striking options to replace him.
Ikpeazu has a strike rate of a goal every three games in his limited playing time due to injury. Keena has started strongly since a successful loan spell at Dunfermline, where he was the Pars’ star man in front of goal. In total, the Jambos have five strikers at their disposal, not including Clare. Steven Naismith is a guaranteed starter, so with Craig Levein opting to play with two up top, one place is already gone.
Clare’s biggest threats to his starting position will be Ikpeazu and Keena. Clare’s form has most likely put him ahead of veteran Steve MacLean and January recruit David Vanecek in Levein’s pecking order.
This is why it is vital for Clare to start scoring on a weekly basis.
He has undoubted potential, but performances only get you so far when you are a forward. There are plenty of men at Tynecastle to replace him, so he has to start scoring regularly. That starts at Fir Park on Sunday.