Hearts manager Craig Levein believes new midfielder Olly Lee’s goals tally could reach double figures this season. After netting twice in Sunday’s friendly win over Partick Thistle, Lee is in scoring form as the new campaign approaches.
Levein signed the 26-year-old from Luton Town on a three-year deal knowing he had a reputation for striking from distance in England. This has already manifested itself north of the Border after Lee hit a 25-yard effort high into the Thistle net at the weekend.
Hearts are now hoping his scoring streak stretches into the competitive season. The Englishman managed seven goals in 43 appearances for Luton last season, but Levein feels he could be even more prolific in Scotland.
“It was something we spoke about when Olly initially came up here for a chat. We discussed his range of passing and his shooting accuracy and I felt it should reward him with more goals than he got in England last year,” Levein told the Evening News.
“In a really good season, he could be looking to push up towards double figures. I think he’s been really good so far. He has shown a lot of quality other than his shooting prowess.”
Lee is establishing a central midfield partnership with another recent arrival, the Australian internationalist Olvier Bozanic. Levein, though, is in no rush to settle on a pairing in the middle of the pitch.
“Those two have done well but I don’t want to jump ahead of myself and start saying, ‘this will be the partnership in the middle’. I think there is really strong competition for places in there.
“We still have to get Harry Cochrane fully fit. I’ve also got Arnaud Djoum, Ryan Edwards, Don Cowie and Ross Callachan, plus Bobby Burns and Ryan Edwards. I certainly won’t be lacking options this season.”