Dario Zanatta has thanked Hearts for letting him stay at Alloa for the rest of the season – and insists it will make him ready to be a first-team Jambo in 2019/20.
The Canadian attacker has been in the form of his career, slamming three goals in December as the Wasps climbed out of the Championship relegation zone above Falkirk and Partick Thistle.
It earned Zanatta the Ladbrokes player of the month award while Jim Goodwin scooped the manager’s prize.
His form has been so good that other Championship sides made their moves to snap him up for the second half of the season and Hearts could have taken him back.
But the 21-year-old will continue in Clackmannanshire – and he reckons it’s win, win.
Zanatta said: “I’m coming back to Alloa and I’m hoping to sign in the next few days. It’s good news. I had a few options from other teams in the league but I felt as if Alloa was the right place for me.
“At the start of the season they showed interest in me and gave me the chance so I was not about to jump ship.
“I want to go back to Hearts next season and make an impact. They are a big club and it’s my goal to play for them.
“Craig Levein has been watching me the last few weeks so hopefully he knows I’m doing alright.
“There was no point in me going back to Hearts at the moment. I need to be playing games to continue growing in confidence.
“So I just want to do well here in the next six months and hopefully play in the Premiership next season.”
Zanatta, who has also been on loan at Queen’s Park and Raith Rovers, could be the difference to Alloa staying in the second tier.
Boss Goodwin said: “It’s massive. Winning the award and the form he’s been in, he’s obviously attracted an awful lot of teams who’d love to have him on loan, but in fairness to Craig Levein and to Hearts, they’ve been very good to us.
“This is the best form that Dario has been in in his career. He’s been out on loan at many clubs through the years since he joined Hearts, and this is definitely the best that he’s been playing – regularly and consistently at a very good level as well.
“The development we’ve seen in Dario over the last four months has been incredible.”
Alloa beat Morton 2-1 on Saturday to go six points clear of ninth-placed Falkirk.