Lomas expects tough test
St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas will pay no attention to Hearts' financial problems as he prepares his side for Saturday's visit of the Jambos.
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The Gorgie club are battling against a cash crisis and recently averted a winding-up order after paying Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs a £450,000 bill, while also settling another issue with the tax authority by agreeing to pay £1.5million over three years.
The Hearts players deferred their wages last month - which are now up to date - but although more than £800,000 has been raised by a share issue scheme launched in October, it is short of the £1.79million target and director Sergejus Fedotovas has warned of tough times ahead.
Lomas believes all that turmoil will be "irrelevant" to the Jambos' players when the game begins.
"I don't think it will have an effect on them, they have been through it all before," said the Northern Irishman. "Hearts players have played when they have had no wages, they have always been professional.
"The game is played on the pitch. Once you step over that white line everything is forgotten about. Everything else is irrelevant.
"You are there to do a job and they will want to prove a point, they will be wanting to win a game of football.
"So it is going to be tough. They are a side jam-packed with good players like Ryan McGowan and John Sutton so we will have to work hard and play well to get something from the game."
Lomas does not have his own problems to seek this week.
The Perth boss will ask David McCracken if he is ready to return early from his fractured cheekbone as Saints face an injury crisis in defence.
Defenders Steven Anderson, Frazer Wright
and skipper Dave Mackay are suspended while midfielder Chris Millar is also banned after being red carded in the 1-1 draw against St Mirren last week.
McCracken was expected to be out for six weeks after picking up the injury which required surgery when he clashed heads with Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama during the 1-1 draw at Parkhead on November 11.
Lomas, though, is heartened by the character his side showed last week in battling for a draw against The Buddies.
The former Manchester City and West Ham midfielder said: "It won't be a makeshift side.
"It is now down to boys to come in and show what they can do. That
is a challenge for all the players.
"It is an opportunity for players and if they come in and play well then they keep the shirt.
"Last week the players showed me what I knew already, they have great character.
"We played 20 minutes with nine men so away from home that has got to be a great point and you have to be satisfied with that.
"As I said before on numerous occasions they are an honest bunch, they have shown it from day one and the players who came in during the summer have been the same."