Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell is wary of the firepower Hearts are ready to unleash in today’s Premiership trip to Tynecastle.
Kettlewell watched the Jambos’ opening day fixture against Aberdeen last Sunday, with manager Craig Levein’s second half introduction of strikers Steven Naismith and Conor Washington playing a major part in helping Hearts overturn a deficit to take a 2-1 lead.
Although the Edinburgh side went on to lose 3-2 in the thrilling Pittodrie encounter, Kettlewell saw plenty warning signs of the Jambos’ attacking capabilities.
Kettlewell said: “I was at the game on Sunday and there was a period in the game when it probably wasn’t going their way, but when the likes of Naismith and Washington came off the bench you know it’s going to give a team a huge boost with their quality and experience.
“We will probably be factoring in that these guys will have a hand in the game at some point – whether that’s from the start or coming off the bench.
“From watching the game on Sunday, Hearts are a well-organised, physical and fit team with a sprinkling of quality throughout their squad.
“We’ve got to try and find a chink in that armour and see if we can show signs of the performance we had on Saturday.”
Newly-promoted County are underdogs for today’s capital encounter, however Kettlewell hopes his side can rise to the challenge of returning to Dingwall with points to show for it.
He added: “There’s a fine line and a balance, between not being naive and stupid and being out of a game before you’ve even started in it.
“Equal to that, we’ve got to think we can go to these places and compete.
“Ultimately we are going to have to come away with results from some of the big stadiums as well.
“I have already touched on the fact I want to make our own ground an extremely difficult place to play, but we really need to make sure we are in a position where we give ourselves a chance in a lot of these away fixtures as well.”
On-loan Norwich City winger Simon Power is nearing a return from a hamstring injury but today’s match will come too soon for the Irishman, however midfielder Ross Draper could be in contention after playing 90 minutes for County’s Colts team in their Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup victory over Fraserburgh on Tuesday.