Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels believes "high negative energy" generated by Hearts' off-field issues will make them dangerous opponents.
Hearts host Killie on Saturday with Tynecastle club currently not granting media interviews and trying to resolve delayed wages to players.
"What will come out of that is a siege mentality," said Shiels.
"[They'll say], 'Even though we're not getting paid we have to show supporters we're not just here for the money'."
The two sides are separated by six points with Hearts fifth and Killie eighth in the Scottish Premier League.
"They will have high negative energy, it will be good for them," said Shiels.
"I've seen it happen so much. It actually helps more than anything in terms of work ethic and the things that happen on the pitch."
"I think they will be in a good emotional state, definitely."
Meanwhile, Shiels has not yet made a decision on whether to offer a contract to Liam Boyce.
The 20-year-old striker from Northern Ireland is midway through a two-week trial and looking to kick-start his career following his release from Werder Bremen.
"He hasn't actually played a game yet so we are looking at a game next Wednesday," added Shiels. "We will look at things from there.
"In terms of fitness, he needs to step up to give me a clearer picture. So I can't actually see yet what the true quality of the player is."