Jon Daly stressed today that Jamie Walker’s Hearts career is not over despite the winger being left out of the last two matches.
The club’s interim head coach reported that Walker is training well and said he hopes to have the 24-year-old available for Saturday’s league trip to Kilmarnock. Former Hearts head coach Ian Cathro omitted Walker from the squad to play Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup two weeks ago, claiming his performance levels in training and games had dropped after failed transfer bids from Rangers.
Daly extended the exile for last week’s opening Premiership match at Celtic Park after Cathro was sacked. However, he insisted Walker still has a future at Tynecastle, where his contract runs until the end of the season. Speculation that the player has made his last appearance in maroon was strongly rejected.
“No, that’s not the case at all. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a Hearts player,” Daly told the Evening News. “We’re paying Jamie to play so if we can get him firing this week and training really well, then great.
“My view is he’s a Hearts player until I’m told otherwise. On his game, he’s one of the best in the country so we want to get him on the park, playing well and give the team the best chance of getting results.
“He’s trained well so far this week. If he continues like that, I’ll obviously speak to him over the next few days. I’d hope he’ll be back involved in the squad on Saturday, whether that’s starting or on the bench. He’s a player you want in your team because he’s a match-winner. If we can get Jamie back involved, it will be great. He has to work really hard in training and make sure he’s giving himself the best chance.”
Meanwhile, Hearts have signed 18-year-old Polish defender Bartlomiej Gajda on a three-year contract. He joins the club’s under-20 squad after spending time on trial at Riccarton during the summer.