St Mirren will be looking to put daylight between themselves and Hearts in the Premiership table, with the sides meeting at the Simple Digital Arena in a crunch clash tonight.
Jim Goodwin’s team have slipped down into the relegation play-off place as a result of Hamilton’s win over Kilmarnock at the weekend, meaning the Buddies have to respond.
St Mirren were beaten 5-0 by Celtic at the weekend and will be desperate to bounce back, and standing in their way of three points are bottom club Hearts.
The Jambos have been improving of late and have taken four points from their last two games, suggesting the hosts must be wary in Paisley.
Here’s how Goodwin could set up for the massive game.
Goalkeeper – Vaclav Hladky
The January 2019 signing from Slovan Liberec will be looking for his 10th Premiership clean sheet of the season.
Defence – Hodson, Famewo, McCarthy, Waters
Goodwin elected for three centre-halves with wing-backs against Celtic in a bid for more defensive resolve, but the system did not work against a quality opposition.
Perhaps against a Hearts side that has conceded 51 league goals so far, the usual four-man backline will suffice, with Akin Famewo and Conor McCarthy a tried and tested partnership.
Midfield – McGrath, Foley, MacPherson, Durmus
Cammy MacPherson and Sam Foley could be key to St Mirren’s hopes of getting a positive result against Hearts.
The pair of battlers have the potential to shut down any creativity from the Hearts midfield with their tenacity and aggression.
Support from out wide could come from January addition Jamie McGrath and Ilkay Durmus, who was was impacted by the system change against Celtic and left on the bench.
Attack – Jakubiak, Obika
Alex Jakubiak has spoken this week of the experience he has of battling relegation (with Falkirk), and he’ll be raring to play his part against Hearts and score his first goal for the club since joining on loan from Watford.
With St Mirren no strangers to going 4-4-2, he could partner Jon Obika up top. The 29-year-old is the Buddies’ top scorer with 11 in all competitions so far, and Goodwin will be praying his main man is on form.