GARY LOCKE hopes to remain at Hearts beyond the summer and fulfil his contract until the end of next season regardless of what fate befalls the club’s Portuguese management team.
Manager Paulo Sergio and his two assistants, Sergio Cruz and Alberto Cabral, are out of contract at the end of the season with their futures yet to be clarified. Locke is keen for all three to stay in place, but revealed that his own deal runs until summer 2013. He hopes to stay in his role of first-team coach and even sign an extension if possible.
Asked where he sees his future lying, Locke replied: “Hopefully it’s here because I’ve got a contract that says it’s going to be here. I’ve got a year left on my current deal and would love to extend that. Everybody knows what the club means to me. It’s a long way off and all I’m concentrating on is Dunfermline tomorrow.
“It’s important we have a strong finish to the season and if we can do that everyone will be optimistic about how things go next season. It’s important we get a victory on Saturday and then focus on the cup semi-final.”
Locke admitted he had sympathy when Dunfermline sacked Jim McIntyre last month and replaced him with the former Hearts manager Jim Jefferies in an effort to avoid relegation. “I felt for Jim because I know him really well. We were both on the Uefa Pro Licence together,” Locke continued.
“People forget Jim did a fantastic job there, he got them promoted when no-one expected them to be. So I felt for him as well. Then the gaffer [Jefferies] went in and took over.
“He knows what is expected of him there and he knows what he has to do. They are six points behind Hibs so they need to start thinking about winning games. But my focus is on Hearts. I am not thinking about anyone else. We’re determined to go through there and get the three points.”
Hearts will use some of their younger players during the game. They will still be without David Templeton due to a groin problem, but Locke declared that the winger will resume full training on Monday: “He had a serious problem with his stomach and groin, but is he will hopefully start training on Monday next week and hopefully put himself in contention for the cup semi-final. That’s a possibility. He is a fit lad – there is no fat about him.”
Meanwhile, Marian Kello has secured his release from Hearts two months before his contract was due to expire.