Dundee V Hearts at Dens Park Stadium : Match Preview

22 December 2016
Dundee V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Paul McGowan back from ban for Dark Blues

Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan returns from suspension when the Dark Blues host Hearts at Dens Park on Friday night.

The former Celtic and St Mirren midfielder missed last Saturday's defeat at Parkhead after racking up six bookings in the first 16 games of the Ladbrokes Premiership season.

Yordi Teijsse has recovered from illness but Nicky Low - who has been sidelined for most of the season with an ankle complaint - has suffered another setback after sustaining a groin strain while boss Paul Hartley is targeting a February return for skipper James McPake after his serious knee injury.

Paul Hartley has confirmed Rory Loy will be free to leave in January - but hinted the striker could still have a future at Dens Park.

Loy has cut a frustrated figure this season, with the form of Craig Wighton and Marcus Haber currently keeping him out of the team.

The 28-year-old has managed just six starts and will now be allowed to head out on loan once the January transfer window opens after a heart-to-heart with his boss.

Hartley admits the former Rangers, Carlisle and Falkirk frontman has fallen down his pecking order.

But he believes the chance of regular action elsewhere could allow Loy to resurrect his Dark Blues career later.

Speaking ahead of Friday night's clash with Hearts, the Dee manager said: "Rory came to me last week to ask to go on loan and we have granted that because he needs to play minutes.

"He wants to play so it will be a loan move but he needs someone to come in and look at him first.

"With the age he's at, he wants to play first-team football. With Haber and Wighton playing right now, he sees his chances here being limited.

"I feel he needs to go get some game time. It's been a frustrating season for him. Last year was the same with the form of Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart. He had an injury and found it difficult.

"Strikers always want a run of games to try to score, so it's important for his self-confidence he gets some time on the pitch and builds that up. For both parties we feel it's the best thing to do.

"Sometimes it is too easy to sit on the bench and not play. But Rory wants to sample first-team football."

Hearts midfielder Prince Buaben is doubtful as he undergoes treatment on a calf injury.

Buaben was forced off against Partick Thistle on Saturday and Hearts are trying to manage the problem to allow him to feature over the festive period.

Sam Nicholson is definitely out as he works his way back from knee surgery.

Hearts are aiming to get their first win under Ian Cathro and Jamie Walker is sure their fortunes will improve.

"Since the Rangers game, when we won 2-0 (on November 30), we have not played well at all, but with the manager coming in he is still trying to get his points across and we just need everyone to work hard," he said.

"There's not been too many big changes. Usually a new manager comes in because the team has not been doing well previously, but he has come in and we were doing okay. He is trying to get his points across but he is keeping it much the same as it was before."

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