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Hearts coach Frank Nuttall offers explanation on Malik Akowuah’s substitute role in Kotoku Royals thumping

Hearts coach Frank Nuttall has revealed he left midfield kingpin Malik Akowuah out of his starting line-up against Kotoku Royals because he lacks match fitness.

Akowuah started every match for the capital club since his switch from Medeama SC in the off season, but could not keep up in the final embers of the first round after he was sidelined with a niggling injury.

The dreadlocks midfielder was a high profile substitute in the 4-0 hammering of second-tier side Kotoku Royals in the MTN FA Cup round of 32 on Sunday when he replaced the in-form Leonard Tawiah at half time, with his gaffer offering this explanation.

‘Malik had some injuries weeks ago and we made some changes as a result, forced changes and Leonard came into the team and over the few games Leonard in particular played well. He deserves to be in the starting eleven,’ Nuttal said after the game.

‘During that period Malik is recovering from injuries and is getting match fitness,’ he added.

Akowuah will hope to be in top shape before the Phobians take on Liberty Professionals in week 16 of the Ghana Premier League at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Reuben Obodai

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