HEARTS hope Ipswich Town’s interest in Jordan McGhee has ended as the English Championship club haven’t followed up earlier offers for the teenage defender.
Head coach Robbie Neilson is keen to keep 19-year-old McGhee at Tynecastle until he develops further.
Mick McCarthy, manager at Portman Road, lodged two bids for the centre-back earlier this month but Hearts rejected the highest offer of £250,000. They would want a minimum £500,000 proposal before even entering talks about selling McGhee, who is a Scotland Under-21 internationalist.
Neilson admitted today he hasn’t heard from Ipswich and is hopeful they will not make a late attempt to lure McGhee south before the transfer window closes.
“We’ve heard nothing so I take it that deal won’t be happening if they’ve moved on,” said Neilson. “The pleasing thing from our point of view is we get to keep a hold of Jordan. I’m sure he will be happy as well that he can stay with us and play. You just don’t know if they’ll come back in. When the team is successful and the players are playing well, there’s always going to be interest in them. Hearts want to develop players and they will move on eventually, but it has to be to the right environment and for the right price. We’ll just need to wait and see what happens. We’re prepared that, if somebody moves on, we can move for somebody else.”
Midfielder Prince Buaben is confident of being fit for this weekend as Hearts aim for a fifth straight league victory against Partick Thistle. Neilson will assess the Ghanaian midfielder in training before deciding whether he should play or be rested to avoid further aggravating a tight hamstring.
“We’ve got a couple of wee niggles but everyone will train either today or tomorrow, so they should all be back,” said Neilson. “Prince sat out some of pre-season and we called on him for three games in a week, so I expected him to be tired. He’ll train today or tomorrow and should be okay. He’s pretty confident he’ll be fine for the game so we’ll take a look at it.”
Neilson also reported that Spanish midfielder Miguel Pallardo’s comeback has been delayed slightly. He now won’t resume full training until next month because of an ongoing Achilles injury.
“Pallardo is coming on well and I’m pleased with the way he’s going. I’m expecting him back next month just after the international break, along with Blazej Augustyn. Initially, we thought Miguel would be back by the end of this month but we got a couple of different answers from specialists. One said six to eight weeks out and another said two weeks, so we’ve erred on the side of caution to make sure there isn’t any problem. I’m happy with where he is and everything is fine with him now.”
Neilson reiterated the need for his players to continue the work ethic which has served them so well under his tenure. Despite being top of the Premiership with a 100 per cent record, the Hearts squad underwent double training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday this week in preparation for Partick.
“The players are confident but not over-confident. They still need to work hard,” said Neilson. “They were in on Sunday after being up at Ross County, then had a double session on Tuesday and the same again yesterday. Hard work has got us where we are and we need to keep doing it. We need to realise where we came from. We’re only four games into the season. We aren’t getting carried away. We’re a Championship team that’s come up so every game we’re going to play will be a battle. It’s been hard work and we need to keep it going. When I looked at the fixtures, I said we wanted to win every game and that’s what we want to do. You go into every game preparing to win and that’s what we’ve managed to do. We want that belief to stay with us.”
n ANOTHER sell-out Tynecastle crowd is expected on Saturday. Hearts have less than 200 tickets remaining for home sections, while Partick Thistle have sold out their away allocation. Ticket prices start from £18 for adults, £13 for concessions, £10 for under-18s and £5 for under-12s. To buy your ticket, call 0333 043 1874 (option 1), visit www.heartsfc.co.uk ot drop in at the Tynecastle ticket centre on McLeod Street.