Lee looks forward to Tynecastle testFriday, 28th Jul 2017
"Hearts heads will be down after the defeat by Peterhead and I think they will come out fast and look to get a response.
Lee Ashcroft is looking forward to returning to Tynecastle on Saturday since he rates it as his favourite ground to play on. He played there twice as a Kilmarnock player winning one and losing one but even that defeat had been erased from his memory before he spoke to the media ahead of the match:-
"I absolutely loved playing there, I played there a couple of times with Killie and I am looking forward to going back. It is a big game for us and one to look forward to.
"You feel very close to the stands and the atmosphere is good. It can be quite intimidating but if we can take anything out of the game then that we will be enough to reach the next round.
"There are some good ties in that last sixteen so it is a big tie for us. You go out to win every game and that is what we are out to do, we are confident we can do that.
"Hearts heads will be down after the defeat by Peterhead and I think they will come out fast and look to get a response. If we can handle that and get on top of them then it is never good when your own crowd is on your own back. You go there to frustrate them, get a goal in front and go and win the game."
If Peterhead win at Elgin they will qualify for the next round of the Betfred Cup no matter what happens at Tynecastle. So to make it into the draw for the next round on Sunday evening Hearts need a win and Dunfermline at least a draw. Regardless of the urgency for a result Hearts will be Dunfermline`s hardest game yet with a step up in quality of opponent but one the players will look forward to. Lee feels that early goals in the two Betfred matches at home settled the team down:-
"With no disrespect to the teams in the lower leagues, they play a lot deeper and you seem to get a lot for time at the back. You are not under as much pressure but we know what to expect. We just need to know and get that positive result.
"It will be a good test for us. We have done well to pick up the results so far but it was unfortunate that we went to penalties."
The penalty shoot out at New Bayview resulted in a 9-8 win for the Pars and gave Lee the opportunity to score his first penalty ever in senior football. He was reticent to step forward but as the goals continued to be scored the 23 year old decided to bite the bullet and go for it.
"Nobody was keen in going forward, so I said I`d go. It was a bit of a blur, I don`t really recall walking up to take it. I just remember running back after sticking in the top window, I was wondering `where did that come from?`
"It was a new experience and we got the bonus point which means that we are top of the Group now. It is a great opportunity for us."
Lee will have to contend with Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty who has scored in all three of the Betfred Cup matches this season. The Pars central defender said that Kyle is a player that he has watched as he was growing up but has never had a chance to play against him before.
"I like to play against big guys, I look forward to the challenge. I prefer playing against big physical strikers rather than wee nippy ones, they can make it a much harder game.
"Kyle Lafferty is an experienced pro, he has been about the place and it`s a match to look forward to and see how you can do against an experienced player.
"The season has been good so far, we have had two great results at home and the pitch has been brilliant for us which has helped a lot to keep the ball.
"We have got to put the Hearts game first and next week will all be about preparing for the league start. Results have been positive so far and we hope to keep that up on Saturday before taking on Livi which will not be an easy game either.
"We are looking for a more positive start than we did in the league last year. I`m sure if the results start coming, we will get them week in week out. We need to push up that table and see what we can do.
"When you are winning like we were in the middle of last season things go your way and you get that wee bit of luck. Hopefully we can get another run going early in the season. That would give us confidence."
Asked about the manager`s experiments to play three men at the back in some of the games this season, Lee said that he had played in a back three as a young player and had enjoyed really enjoyed it:-
"I have never really played in a back three at senior level. I think it is good as a defender because you know that you have that extra cover but I think it is more difficult for the midfield in front of us.
"It is something that we have been working on and I am sure that we will play it at some point during the season. It is obviously the gaffer`s decision but it gives us another option."