MOTHERWELL assistant Kenny Black says he is unsurprised that former Hearts manager Jim Jefferies and his right-hand man Billy Brown were sacked by owner Vladimir Romanov on Monday.
Black was fully expecting to be going head-to-head with the pair in this Sunday’s SPL clash at Fir Park but instead will face a Hearts side managed by former Sporting Lisbon coach Paulo Sergio.
The former Jambos midfielder said: “There are always rumours going about and past history tells you it’s not unexpected.
“Nothing surprises me in football but it does not make the situation ideal from Jim and Billy’s point of view.
“You are just 90 minutes away from these types of things happening.
“I spoke to both Jim and Billy on Monday when I heard and expressed my disappointment to them that it has turned out this way. They were very disappointed but not too shocked."
He added: “Mr Romanov is the owner and the man in charge and he decides what happens.
“He has made a decision which he thinks will push Hearts on.
“However it’s a gamble for them because they have got a European tie on Thursday which is in the balance and then they have got us on Sunday. It is not really giving the new manager a lot of time to get bedded in.
“His knowledge of Scottish football is going to be limited, I would think.”
Despite the latest upheaval which has sent shockwaves down Gorgie Road, Black expects Hearts to be a tough proposition on Sunday, given the quality and depth of their squad.
“We can only focus on ourselves and whatever happens it will be a difficult game on Sunday,” he said.
“Hearts had a disappointing result against Dundee United but showed what they are capable of at Ibrox in the first day of the season.
“They will have players out to impress the new management team and that in itself causes problems.
“Jim managed to bring a few players in during the summer, John Sutton being one of them who we obviously know well.
“It will be interesting to see their team selection for Thursday and what changes, if any, they make on Sunday.”
Motherwell currently sit proudly at the top of the SPL, albeit after just two games, and 47-year-old Black admits to being “quietly pleased” with their early season form.
“We have gone about our business well but there is more to come from us,” he said. “Keeping two clean sheets in the first two games has been a real positive.”
Striker Michael Higdon is facing a race against time to be fit for Sunday’s clash but the former Airdrie boss was happy with how Robert McHugh performed in his place at Kilmarnock last weekend.
“It is really important the likes of Bob McHugh take their chance and I thought he was unlucky not to score on Saturday,” said Black. “It was his first 90 minutes in a long time and I thought he did really well. I was delighted with his performance.
“We could have played Michael on Saturday but it may have set him back four or five weeks so we’ll be careful with him and be advised by the medical department this week.
“He will be getting treatment right up until kick-off on Sunday after a week’s rest.”
Black has not ruled out Motherwell bringing in at least one more player before the transfer window shuts.
“We are still looking and will continue to monitor things right up until the end of this month,” he said.
“If we could bring in one more player, it would certainly help us.”
Motherwell played a bounce game against Partick Thistle at Dalziel Park yesterday (Tuesday) with those not involved at Rugby Park on Saturday taking part.