Daniel Stendel: Clevid Dikamona has chance to earn new Hearts contract
Congolese defender in top form with current deal due to expire
Clevid Dikamona can earn a new Hearts contract if he maintains the form shown in victories against Hibs and Rangers.
His current deal expires in May and manager Daniel Stendel has challenged the Congolese defender to continue his dominant displays and win an extension.
Deputising for the injured John Souttar, Dikamona was outstanding as Hearts knocked Rangers out of the Scottish Cup last weekend before winning Tuesday night’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.
His new central defensive partnership with Craig Halkett will continue for the rest of the season as Souttar faces several months out with a ruptured Achilles.
Stendel advised Dikamona to seize the opportunity and prove himself worthy of a new deal.
"Clevid played well in the last two games and I hope he can keep this going in the next games. Then he will have all the chances to do what he wants, and we will have the chance to keep him here,” the manager told the Evening News.
"It's a good situation for him that he can play right now when his contract is finishing in the summer, especially when you play well. When he does that, he can help us in our siutation.”
Hearts’ relegation battle continues on Saturday when Motherwell visit Tynecastle Park for a vital Premiership match.
Asked if out-of-contract players’ futures will depend on which league the club will occupy next season, Stendel replied: "Everybody wants to play in the Premiership and we want to play in the Premiership next year. We are focused only on this goal.”
Fellow defender Michael Smith extolled Dikamona’s contribution to the squad, even though he has been a bit-part player for much of his 18 months at Hearts.
“He hasn’t really had a chance,” said Smith. “Clevid has been in and out of the team every so often covering for injuries but, at the minute, he has been given a chance and he has shown how professional he has been.
“He has never been downhearted about not playing. He has been working hard on the training ground and working hard in the gym and he has been ready for his chance. Now he has come in and taken it.
“In the last two games he has been absolutely superb. He is strong and quick and he has looked sharp for someone who hasn’t been playing. Fair play to him.”
Off the pitch, Dikamona is a reserved family man who is focused on being the best professional he can be. Smith admitted those are qualities to admire.
“He is a great guy. He is quiet and a good, solid family man, which I like about him. He is a good laugh as well but, first and foremost, he takes his football really seriously and we need people like that to help us get out of this.”