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Hearts goalkeeper Joel Pereira likely to be taken out of the firing line

Hearts goalkeeper Joel Pereira is set to be dropped after boss Daniel Stendel hinted he is considering swapping his number one.

Manchester United loanee Pereira has been preferred to Zdenek Zlamal and Colin Doyle so far this term.

But the 23-year-old has hardly covered himself in glory in recent weeks, making high-profile mistakes against St Johnstone, Kilmarnock and then Celtic on Wednesday.

Those errors have come amid a three-game run in which the Jambos have shipped 11 goals and now Stendel has suggested a change in goal could be imminent as they prepare for Saturday’s crucial relegation crunch with Hamilton.

The German said: “We have decided who will be in goal but haven’t spoken to the goalkeepers and I would like to talk to them first.

“We consider what’s best for the team for every position. You need to look to what’s happening in training, what’s been happening in the last few games. We do that for every position, not just goalkeeper.

“But I’d like to speak to the player about what we’ve decided and need every player on the pitch to trust the coaching staff in what we ask of them.

“We expect a lot of things from every player but you get the trust from us every time. Trust also means you trust a player when he doesn’t have his best time.

“The question is, what’s the best thing for the game tomorrow.”

Hearts were hammered 5-0 at Celtic Park in midweek but they remain just a point behind Accies at the bottom of the table.

Stendel knows his side’s fate will not be decided when they welcome Brian Rice’s team to Tynecastle.

But he urged them to take the fight to Hamilton’s battle-hardened relegation campaigners.

“We’re looking forward only to this game,” said Stendel. “It will be a much different game and we’re playing at home at Tynecastle.

“We’re showing a good attitude all the time and we need to show the right desire on the pitch.

“I know that we’ll get really good support and I understand how important the game is.

“It doesn’t matter what happens tomorrow. It is not the final decision for the season. This is realistic.

“But this is a big chance to show we are better in a game against our biggest competition at the moment.

“We want to show that we’re the better team. This is a fight. Teams like Hamilton know what it is to fight against relegation from the first day. We need to learn that.

“It’s not so easy for the players as this is the first time they have felt so much pressure. It’s a new experience for a lot of players in this team.”