Hearts striker Conor Sammon wants to stay and fight for his Tynecastle career despite interest from Dundee United.
The Irishman has privately made clear his intention to fight for his place after dropping to the substitutes’ bench and being jeered by his own fans.
United want to take him to Tannadice on an emergency one-month loan which could then be extended during the January transfer window. However, Sammon believes he still has a future at Hearts and is prepared to battle to reclaim a first-team place. Head coach Ian Cathro hopes to keep the player in his squad for at least the next three matches through to the winter break.
“Conor is focused and strong, he’s trained well and he’s here with the group. We want everyone involved in these three games because they are vitally important,” said Cathro.
“I’m not at the stage of moving anybody on yet. We’re still assessing. We have games tomorrow, next Tuesday and next Friday. That’s three games in a short period of time.”
Sammon was booed by Hearts fans after coming on as a substitute during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle at Tynecastle. But Cathro stressed that the 30-year-old is strong enough to handle any criticism.
“I think if that’s a weak player, then it is hard. If it’s Conor, then it’s fine. He is a strong player, a very focused guy and a top professional,” added Cathro.
“His work every single day has been exemplary. There is no call for him to need support because, trust me, he is fine. He is a strong guy and an important player.”
Midfielder Prince Buaben remains extremely doubtful for tomorrow’s trip to Dens Park to face Dundee. A calf injury sustained on Saturday is preventing him taking part in full training.
“We’re just going day by day to see how he is,” said Cathro. “He’s taking part in a bit of training but not full training.
“We just have to manage him properly so that he’s fine. We’ll manage it to give him the chance to be back fully in with the group when he’s ready.”
“We’re going to Dundee to try and win the game. Sometimes things are just that simple. We’re going there to win. If we win, we then do the same from here on in day by day.”
• HEARTS Under-20s drew 2-2 with Dundee United at Station park, Forfar yesterday, Dario Zanatta and Leon Jones grabbing the young Jambos’ goals.