Hearts hope a proposed change to SPFL loan rules will enhance the development of their youngsters this season.
A move to allow players to play under-20 games for their parent club whilst out on loan was discussed at the SPFL’s annual general meeting on Monday and Hearts believe they could benefit from such a scenario.
Head coach Robbie Neilson wants to farm out several emerging academy kids after signing eight new players. Provided the new rule is officially confirmed, the youngsters will also play for Hearts’ under-20s to get as much game time as possible.
Some of them are already on the fringes of the Tynecastle first team and need experience of regular senior football to progress. They would get that on loan whilst Hearts could also monitor their development closely if they can feature in under-20 matches.
“I’m still deciding what I’m going to do with certain players,” Neilson told the Evening News. “There will be a few of them who will go out on loan. I’m going to put quite a few of them out because I think it’s important they go and play proper, men’s football.
“They need to go to the right club. There’s nothing worse than a player going out on loan and they go somewhere where they don’t enjoy it. Secondly, maybe the team doesn’t play the style of football you want. Thirdly, sometimes they maybe don’t get a game.
“That’s why it’s important to pick the right club for the boys. We’ve already had a lot of enquiries about players so Stevie Crawford [assistant coach] and myself just need to sit down with them and discuss what we think is best for them. Then we can make a decision.”
Neilson is expected to select his strongest available side for the start of Hearts’ competitive season on Saturday against Annan Athletic in the Petrofac Training Cup.
“I’ve been to see Annan a couple of times so we know what we’re going to work on,” said Neilson, who will demand huge improvement following Tuesday evening’s 3-0 friendly defeat by Dundee.
“Ultimately, it’s about working hard and having a desire. I hope Tuesday was a wee eye-opener for some of them to show why you need that. You can’t just turn up at places and expect to go and win. You need to work, you need to want it. We have some very good technical players who know the game but if the hunger is not there, it doesn’t matter where you’re playing. You’ll get beaten.”