RUDI SKACEL has warned against building the Hearts team around fresh graduates from the club's academy.
It is a strategy that has been trailed for some time at Tynecastle, and was promoted by Paulo Sergio, the manager, and Andy Webster after Jason Holt scored on his debut against St Johnstone last week. Sergio suggested that Denis Prychynenko and Jordan Morton will soon get their chance, while Hearts have promised to replace high-earners with homegrown youngsters when the contracts of experienced players – Skacel included – expire in the summer.
"You definitely can't put five or six youngsters in and think everything will be okay and you'll be fighting for the title," said Skacel. "You have to put one or two in and slowly integrate them because youngsters are always inconsistent. You need to find the right mix of experience. When I was at Southampton, for example, they were relegated when they tried to play too many youngsters."
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Mark Reynolds, the Aberdeen defender, wants his strikers to find form after back-to-back defeats by Motherwell and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Reynolds, who expects to return to parent club Sheffield Wednesday when his loan deal expires at the end of the season, said: "We walk a tightrope. If we lose a goal it can be the difference between a point and three, because we're not scoring.
"We defend as a team, from the front. It is disappointing when we don't score goals, but the boys are scoring in training and they're more than capable."