New Hearts striker Juanma will sit out the next week of pre-season due to a groin injury.
The Spaniard missed last night’s friendly against Stirling Albion and is unlikely to be risked against Cowdenbeath tonight or Preston North End on Saturday.
Juanma tweaked his groin during Saturday’s DK Lafferty Challenge Cup in Oban and medical staff at Riccarton expect him to miss the next couple of matches. With the new season just two weeks away, he will not risk further injury by playing.
He is expected to feature in Hearts’ final summer friendly against Everton on Sunday week, provided he suffers no further problems. Head coach Robbie Neilson is eager to protect the player and make sure he is fully fit for the club’s opening Scottish Premiership fixture at home to St Johnstone on Sunday, August 2.
Hearts suffered a 2-1 defeat at Forthbank last night as Stirling Albion lifted the Supporters Direct Scotland Cup. The visitors’ opened the scoring through 17-year-old striker Russell McLean, but Sean Dickson’s penalty and an instinctive finish by trialist Salim Kouider-Aissa inside the last 15 minutes overturned the score.
Neilson fielded a young side with several players aged 16 and 17 and said he was satisfied overall. “You always want to win games but, at the end of the day, if I really wanted to win I’d have brought my whole shebang down and won it,” he said. “The most important thing is the first game of the season and that’s why we didn’t bring a strong team. I thought the younger lads who came in did okay.
“We had five or six 16-year-olds, a few 17-year-olds and a couple of 18-year-olds playing. It was a decent outing but we gave away a couple of silly goals. It was a good learning curve for them.”
Neilson confirmed Hearts are trying to sign 18-year-old Canadian youth internationalist Dario Zanatta. He has been training with the under-20 squad and played the first half of last night game. A forward or midfielder, he has been on trial at IFK Gothenburg and Ipswich Town in recent months.
“We’re trying to do something with him,” said Neilson. “He’s down as a trialist because we can’t get the deal done at the moment but we’re in the process of trying to get it sorted out.
“Hopefully we’ll get it done later this week or next week.”