Jon Daly insists he is ready to step up as head coach at Hearts as the club’s board deliberates over Ian Cathro’s successor.
Daly stepped into the breach after Cathro’s abrupt departure before the beginning of the season, and has made no secret of his desire to take on the role on a permanent basis.
Chairwoman Ann Budge said in a statement earlier in the week that an announcement would be made on Cathro’s successor next week, and Daly is thought to be one of the frontrunners after impressing in his brief spell in charge.
Under Daly, Hearts suffered defeat at Celtic, but bounced back with a win over Kilmarnock and a valuable point away at Rangers and he feels ready to take the next step.
He said: “I do think I have coped quite well.
“From a personal point of view, when you get chucked in having never done it before, it’s interesting and different but it’s been enjoyable and I think we’ve handled ourselves quite well.
“I really enjoy working at the football club in whatever capacity they deem fit. It’s a really good football club that’s going places and I’d love to be a part of it whether that’s now or in the future.
“I think I’m ready for first team management, but I don’t see that being anywhere else other than here.”
At just 34, Daly is the youngest in the frame for the job at Tynecastle, and admits he may still have some people to win over after the failure of the previous regime.
“I could understand the anxiety amongst the board, the fans and that,” he said. “But they just need to look at the reaction we’ve got from the players in a short space of time and take the positives from that.”
He added: “When you look at the previous manager, he was young and it was difficult for him.
“I’ve been in the game from a professional level for 20 years, so I have a decent understanding of what’s expected on the football pitch and how to win games of football.
“It’s a decision the board need to make, whether they go with someone from within which they did with Robbie (Neilson), who was a rookie manager.
“From my point of view, the structure (of appointing from within) has worked and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work now.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Walker remains a Jambos player despite persistent speculation linking him with a move away from the club, and Daly admitted he could still leave before the end of the transfer window.
“He’s our player and will remain so until a time when a bid comes in that’s deemed acceptable to the club,” he said. “The players have a value and if someone is prepared to pay that value, then they move on.”
The club have also moved to sign John McLaughlin following a successful trial with the club, with the goalkeeper expected to complete the move before Saturday’s trip to face Motherwell.