Craig Levein has warned Hearts winger Danny Amankwaa he will be frozen out of the first team unless his fitness improves.
Amankwaa is behind with his physical conditioning after returning from a summer break and has been told to shape up quickly by his manager.
The 24-year-old is to work on stamina and endurance to ensure he can produce his best form for a full 90 minutes. Levein is monitoring the situation closely and has told Amankwaa he won’t play unless he gets himself fitter.
Hearts have completed three pre-season friendlies so far but Amankwaa has only been given 26 minutes of action – 20 against Dumbarton on Saturday and six against Partick Thistle on Sunday.
“Danny still isn’t up to full fitness yet and I’ve been whipping him to try and get him there,” Levein told the Evening News. “Until he gets to the level I need him at, he will be doing extra work and he won’t be playing in the first team.
“He came off the bench on Sunday but we still aren’t at the point where he is 100 per cent. He actually has good technical ability and good speed, but he needs to be able to maintain that speed for the length of a match. At this moment in time he can’t do that, so we’re still working on him. He has a bit to go.”
Amankwaa joined Hearts in January from FC Copenhagen and signed an 18-month contract. He was taken out of the first team in February to work on his fitness and returned after three weeks of sprinting and endurance training.
He made 12 Hearts appearances in total last season, playing from the start on five occasions, but has yet to fully realise his potential at Tynecastle Park.