Hearts manager Craig Levein will assess trialist midfielder Ali Crawford again this weekend before making any decision on a potential contract offer.
The former Hamilton Academical player is due to feature in one of Hearts’ two friendlies against Dumbarton on Saturday and Partick Thistle on Sunday.
Levein will then hold talks with Crawford next week, although he does not intend being rushed into a decision. Crawford played 45 minutes in Hearts’ opening pre-season friendly against Arbroath on Tuesday night. His pass created the opening goal for Aidan Keena in the 2-1 victory.
“Ali did well but he still isn’t 100 per cent fit. We have two games at the weekend and he will play in one of those. Then we’ll see where we go from there,” Levein told the Evening News.
Hearts have further friendlies against Queen of the South and Forfar before starting their Betfred Cup campaign at Cove Rangers on July 18. Levein feels playing away to lower-league opponents is good preparation for upcoming competitive ties against Cove and Raith Rovers.
“It was a good runout for us at Arbroath and I was pleased with a lot of the performances,” said the manager. “The pitch was quite sticky and that meant there was a lot more tackling in the game than normal. I thought it was pretty much what we’re going to face in these Betfred Cup games.”
Levein also declared himself pleased with new Australian left-back Ben Garuccio, who also played 45 minutes at Gayfield.
“He was steady playing as a wing-back. He hasn’t played wing-back as much as he’s played full-back. We need to get the relationship right between the left centre-back and him. The midfielder inside him will be quite important as well. I thought he showed good touches.”