Enckelman could face Liverpool

PA Sport
Peter Enckelman could make his Hearts debut in the Europa League play-off against Liverpool
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Peter Enckelman could make his Hearts debut in the Europa League play-off against Liverpool

Peter Enckelman is preparing for a potential Hearts debut against Liverpool after first-choice goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald's pregnant partner was admitted to hospital.

MacDonald was due to become a father more than a week ago and his attendance for the Europa League play-off first leg at Tynecastle on Thursday night remains in doubt.

Former Aston Villa goalkeeper Enckelman, who was released by St Johnstone at the end of last season, signed for Hearts on Friday - after back-up Mark Ridgers was ruled out for three months with a knee injury - and could be in line for a debut.

Hearts manager John McGlynn said: "I got a text from Jamie. His partner is in the hospital and has been since four o'clock this morning but there is no baby yet. It's looking more like it will happen today.

"Jamie came in later yesterday, his partner went into hospital yesterday morning but they were sent home. We just need to play it by ear and see, when the baby does arrive, how Jamie is feeling, and then make a decision."

Enckelman, 35, has been training alone all summer but McGlynn has no major concern over putting the Finn in if necessary.

"He's an experienced keeper and he played a lot in the SPL last season," the Hearts boss said. "Peter has played down in England with Aston Villa, Blackburn and Wigan.

"I wouldn't have any great fears, it's just that he has not been doing a lot of training."

Hearts captain and centre-back Marius Zaliuks is set to play despite suffering a dead leg during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Inverness.

"I think he is going to be okay," McGlynn said. "He trained yesterday and as long as he comes through today again without getting a knock on it, he'll be fine."

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