London Hearts Supporters Club

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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Matthew Lindsay auth-> Brian Winter
[S Hughes 76]
4 of 019 Andrew Driver 50 ;Ruben Palazuelos 92 L SPL H

Depth charge can boost Well’s third-place hopes

by Matthew Lindsay

DARREN SMITH reckons Motherwell finally have the strength in depth they need to launch a serious challenge to Hearts for a Uefa Cup spot this season.

Smith and his Well team-mates take on the Jambos tonight in a match boss Mark McGhee reckons they have to win if they want to finish third.

However, the young front man is confident the Steelmen can secure a massive Clydesdale Bank Premier League triumph away at Tynecastle.

And he also believes Motherwell can then catch, and overtake, Csaba Laszlo's men and qualify for European competition for the second season running.

Smith explained: "When we were on our bad run earlier this season I think the problem was that we were missing key players through suspension and injury.

"We have got a full-strength team to choose from now and we are playing well again. Indeed, that is nine games undefeated for us in the league now.

"As the manager said, we need to beat Hearts tonight if we want to catch them. They are nine points ahead of us at this moment in time and we can't afford to slip up.

"But if we win we then have a home game against Dundee United coming up on Saturday week. We can make up good ground on the teams above us in the league with two wins.

"I think we are playing so well at the moment and getting good results because we have some serious competition for places in all positions in the team.

"Sure, we have lost our top scorer Chris Porter, but Cillian Sheridan has come in on loan from Celtic and looks like being a really good acquisition for us.

"He took his goal against Inverness on Saturday brilliantly. I am sure that will do his confidence the world of good. He can push on from there.

"With Cillian, John Sutton, David Clarkson, Jamie Murphy and myself we now have a lot of competition for places in the front positions."

Smith added: "It was, too, great to see Brian McLean getting a game again in the win against Inverness. All of the boys were delighted for him.

"He has had some serious injuries in the last few years and it was fantastic to see him back in the first team and playing well. He is a quality player and gives us another option at the back.

"We have beaten Hearts at Tynecastle before in the past and nobody in the side has any fears about going there and getting a victory the way we are playing."

Meanwhile, Smith has stressed being a substituted substitute in the league win against Inverness has not dented his own confidence.

The 20-year-old flyer came on for fellow front man Clarkson at the start of second half - only to be replaced by Marc Fitzpatrick towards the end of the game.

However, manager McGhee has assured him the switch had nothing to do with his personal performance in the win against Terry Butcher's side.

Smith revealed: "I have been getting a bit of a ribbing about being a subbed sub off some of the boys in training, but I am not really bothered by it.

"I knew it was done for tactical reasons. The manager took me to one side after the game and told me not to let it bother me. I haven't let it get me down.

"If I get the chance to play against Hearts tonight I will have belief in my own abilities and will try my best to help the boys get a result which will keep us in the hunt for third place."

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