Hearts recall Harry Cochrane, Anthony McDonald, Connor Smith and Alex Petkov from loans
Edinburgh club are bringing young players back to Riccarton
Hearts have recalled youngsters Harry Cochrane, Anthony McDonald, Connor Smith and Alex Petkov from their respective loan spells. Midfielder Cochrane and forward McDonald, both 18, have returned to their parent club from Dunfermline, with 17-year-old midfielder Smith back from Cowdenbeath and 20-year-old defender Petkov finished at Clyde.
That quartet are now back at Riccarton training under the watchful eye of new Hearts manager Daniel Stendel. The club have also welcomed back winger Lewis Moore and striker Rory Currie from loans at Falkirk and Forfar respetively, whilst forward Leeroy Makovora's spell at Spartans has also ended.
Petkov's loan agreement with Clyde has expired but the League One club wanted to keep the Bulgarian who can play in midfield or defence. Stendel intends to assess him and others first-hand whilst revamping his first-team squad.
The Clyde manager Danny Lennon said: "We did ask if we could keep Alex for a longer period, but Hearts have said that they want him back. Whether that will change in the future remains to be seen.
"Alex did exceptionally well and has really come on during his time at the club. We'd like to thank him for everything he's done in a Clyde jersey and I think that we have been good for him as well. I'd like to see him go back to Hearts and make a difference for them at first-team level now."
Smith is leaving League Two Cowdenbeath after his loan deal also ended. He explained some of the valuable experience he has gained at his home-town club.
"It's been great experience for me, playing every week and playing on different pitches that you wouldn't play on in higher leagues. It's good to adjust to stuff like that," he said.
"I played four games at Hearts, then to come here and play about 19 games shows that playing every week keeps your fitness up and gets you stronger.
"You can't take too many touches on the ball or you just get hit in this league. I just need to take that back into Hearts and kick on from there."
He has already trained under Stendel and is looking forward to pushing for a place in the German's team during the second half of the season. "I've trained a few times with the first team and I've spoken to him. I think he will be a good help for Hearts," added Smith.
Stevie Crawford, the Dunfermline manager, had been preparing to lose both Cochrane and McDonald for the second half of the season. Neither of the pair were involved in Saturday's Championship defeat at home to Ayr United.
“At the moment I think it looks likely that the Hearts boys are going back," explained Crawford after the match.
"Anthony McDonald missed today because he took a head knock on Thursday and I just thought that it was right to shape up the bench in the manner that I did with not starting Harry Cochrane today.
"Harry has missed out but we are just waiting on confirmation from Hearts but I think those two will be going back."