Hearts hope Jamie Walker stays beyond January – but player will decide

Jamie Walker's Hearts deal expires at the end of this season
Jamie Walker's Hearts deal expires at the end of this season
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Hearts manager Craig Levein is hoping Jamie Walker stays at Tynecastle beyond January but stressed it will be the player’s decision.

Rangers tried several times to sign Walker during the summer transfer window and it is not clear if they remain interested after sacking manager Pedro Caixinha. Levein has discussed Walker’s immediate future with the 24-year-old and insists he is settled at the moment despite a difficult few months.

His Hearts contract expires at the end of the season and he is therefore entitled to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club when the January transfer window opens. Levein is hopeful Walker will remain with Hearts until the end of the season after watching him return from a hamstring injury last weekend against Partick Thistle.

“It was good to get Jamie back on the field, I was pleased with that. I think he’ll be better again with another week’s training under his belt,” said Levein, adding that the winger is feeling better mentally after speculation about his future dissipated.

“He seems good. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and he seems in a good place. I’m not worried about Jamie, I was just worried whether we’d have him available to play.”

Asked whether Walker is likely to be at Tynecastle until the season ends, Levein replied: “It’s one of the options but I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen. I’m hoping he’ll be here, that’s for sure, but it will be Jamie’s decision.”

Centre-back John Souttar is in contention to return from concussion this Saturday when Hearts host Ross County.

Souttar has resumed training this week ahead of the Highlanders’ visit, which will be the second match in front of Tynecastle’s new main stand.

The 21-year-old suffered concussion and spent a night in hospital after a clash whilst on Scotland Under-21 duty against Latvia earlier this month.