Football - Hughes set to ring the changes

John Hughes is considering freshening up his Inverness side for their Scottish Cup replay against Stranraer on Tuesday night.

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Inverness manager John Hughes (PA Photos)

He watched his side play out a 0-0 draw against a determined Hearts side in the Highland Capital, where the Caley Jags hit the woodwork four times.

David Raven, Greg Tansey, Marley Watkins and Billy Mckay all struck the frame of the goal but could not find a way through.

James Vincent, who signed a two-year contract extension pre-game, continued his return from injury against the Jambos and played more than an hour, while skipper Richie Foran emerged from the bench in his place in the second half.

Hughes wants to see a lift in performances if new faces feature against the Stair Park side.

"We might consider making two, three or four changes against Stranraer," he said. "But we'll give them due respect.

"It is a concern that maybe the cup final is becoming a distraction and we'll be using all our tools possible to make sure that doesn't happen.

"Players are wanting to make sure they're in the team, wanting to be man of the match in the cup final because it might be the only one they'll play in.

"There's still plenty of football in this tie but I'm really hoping that if we do go and freshen it up, however many changes we decide to make, that those guys go in there and give man-of-the-match performances."

Hearts manager Gary Locke is hoping the arrival of potential new owner Ann Budge can finally provide the club with some stability off the park.

The Tynecastle side have battled back from a 15-point deduction this season and Locke feels Budge can bring a bright future to the club.

"I met Ann a while ago and she's met quite a few members of staff," he said.

"It's great that we're going to have a new owner that's going to take the club forward in the right direction. It's fantastic for everybody.

"The great thing from everyone's perspective is that it's the best thing that's happened to this club for a long long time.

"First and foremost I'm a Hearts supporter. The last year has been really difficult and my only concern has been that this club survives.

"In the summer it was as bleak as it could get, the club was on its knees and there was a serious chance of us not being here.

"But now with Ann coming in to take the club forward, it's got a real good chance of having a bright future."

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