HEARTS manager John McGlynn today revealed that he has been dealt another selection blow with the news that Jamie Hamill will not be ready to step in to fill the gap left by Ryan McGowan any time soon.
McGlynn is resigned to the fact that Aussie defender McGowan will be leaving the club during the current transfer window after Hearts accepted a £400,000 bid from Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng Taishan.
Hamill would have been a ready-made replacement for McGowan at right-back and had been expected to be returning to action around this time after undergoing surgery back in May on a cruciate knee ligament injury.
The former Kilmarnock player, however, has experienced some complications in his recovery and is suffering from pain in the joint.
The club has been in close consultation with his surgeon in a bid to resolve the problem but Hamill’s return still seems to be some way off.
McGlynn said: “Normally, Jamie Hamill would be an automatic replacement for Ryan but that is not going to happen.
“He had his operation back in May and, knowing that we might lose Ryan in January, you would hope to have him ready to come straight back in, but it’s not the case.
“He is getting a bit of pain and Rob Marshall, our physiotherapist, is liaising with the surgeon all of the time to find out the best way to go forward with all of this.
“We’re not looking at any more surgery at the moment. It’s just that the surgeon has got the knowhow in terms of advising us on the best way to get him back.
“He is not going to be back within the timescale that we were first hoping for.”
Meanwhile, McGlynn admitted it will be extremely difficult to replace McGowan. The Hearts manager continued: “It’s disappointing to lose him but the state of affairs at the football club means that if good offers come in, the club has to accept them and that’s where we are.
“He hasn’t signed yet and from that point of view fans will be saying that he is still a Hearts player and should play, but if he got a serious injury that deal would go down the tubes and this football club needs the money.
“He has been a very big player for me and, since the summer, he has played every single minute of every single game that I have been in charge of.
“He is a massive influence, both on and off the pitch and he is a great lad.
“He will be a very big miss from my own point of view.
“It’s very difficult to replace him. It’s not long ago that Hearts had about five right-backs but now we have a problem with that position. But we will move the pack around and go with the best options we have.
“I’m not thinking of putting Callum (Paterson) back into that position for this game. He has been moved around everywhere and has been comfortable everywhere but that’s not in my thinking.”