Zeefuik set to make Hearts debut at Dumbarton

Genero Zeefuik. Picture: HMFC
Genero Zeefuik. Picture: HMFC
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GÉNERO ZEEFUIK is poised for a Hearts debut against Dumbarton tomorrow after arriving on loan from FC Groningen.

The Dutch striker, 24, will be named in head coach Robbie Neilson’s squad provided international clearance arrives in time. He would be expected to start the match on the substitutes’ bench.

Hearts completed a six-month loan deal for Zeefuik yesterday afternoon to reinforce their forward line. A former Holland Under-21 internationalist, he is an Ajax youth academy graduate who also spent six years at PSV Eindhoven. He has come to Scotland to try to kickstart his career after playing in Groningen’s reserves.

Neilson explained that the signing will allow him to deploy two strikers if he wishes, with Osman Sow, Soufian El Hassnaoui and Dale Carrick all still unavailable as they recover from injury.

“He [Zeefuik] has been playing in the reserves for Groningen so is fit and ready to go but might take a couple of games to get up to first-team match fitness,” said Neilson, speaking to the Hearts website.

“The way he plays he is a good link man and we have lacked his physicality up front when we haven’t had Osman playing so we have that option now to get the ball into him and play off him.

“Genero gives us a different option up front, is really strong, physical and can hold the ball up and link well with others.

“He has a good pedigree having played at some big clubs in Holland and has scored a lot of goals for his country at U21 level.

“He will be a threat for us and a good option in attack. He will allow us to get back to playing two up front again if we want, which we haven’t been able to do with the injuries we have had. For the last five or six weeks we have been struggling striker-wise for numbers as some of the guys haven’t been quite ready.

“He wants to do well, we want him to do well and we look forward to getting him in the team.”

Hearts are also close to completing negotiations on a new contract for teenage defender Jordan McGhee. The 18-year-old centre-back is expected to commit his future to the Edinburgh club within the next week.

“In Jordan’s case, we’re still talking to him and we’re not that far away. I’d expect him to sign up pretty soon,” explained Neilson, who believes McGhee has the potential to play in England once he develops a stronger physique.

Stoke City are interested in McGhee and Sunderland have also monitored his progress, although no bids have been made for the Scotland Under-21 internationalist.

Neilson feels McGhee will eventually possess all the attributes to play at a good level in England, although not for another year or two.

“I think Jordan realises himself that he’s not quite ready to go down there yet,” continued the head coach.

“As a centre-half, he’s still got to develop quite a bit, physically and mentally. He’s still probably a year or two away from going down there. If he continues to progress the way he is then he will go down there eventually.

“I think he will be a centre-half rather than a right-back. At the moment he isn’t developed enough to go down there but he can play in Scotland.

“He’s physical enough to play in Scotland. As an 18-year-old, to play centre-half in the Scottish Premiership and Championship for 30 to 40 games shows he’s capable of making that step probably in a year or two.”