Hearts reveal plan for Jordan Roberts after winger returns from loan spell at Motherwell
Jordan Roberts will get an opportunity to revive his Hearts career once he reaches full fitness this summer.
The Englishman returned from a loan spell at Motherwell with a niggling injury but is now working on his condition after talks with coaching staff at Riccarton.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson is prepared to give Roberts a chance this term as he enters the final 12 months of a two-year contract.
The 27-year-old winger was loaned to Fir Park for the final four months of last season after failing to command a regular place in Hearts’ Championship-winning side.
He is now back with his parent club, played in Saturday’s closed-door friendly win against Falkirk, and will get another outing among some fringe players at Bonnyrigg Rose on Wednesday night.
Neilson explained to the Evening News that the door is open for Roberts to seize his opportunity over the coming weeks.
“Jordan has done well in pre-season. He was injured when we first came back because of a wee issue he picked up at Motherwell. He looked good in the game on Saturday but he only played 30 minutes,” said Neilson.
“Like everyone in pre-season, they get a chance to impress and get themselves in about the team.
“I think the time at Motherwell benefitted Jordan, just giving him game time. I said previously that he found it quite difficult when he came up to Scotland. He was on his own during lockdown and that made it difficult.
“He has come back and things have opened up a bit, so he seems in a good place.
“I think every season is a fresh start for every player – proving themselves again, getting fit and getting in the team. Jordan is like every other player who comes back in pre-season. If they do well, they will be involved.”
Roberts faces competition for wide places at Hearts in the shape of Josh Ginnelly, Gary Mackay-Steven, Jamie Walker and Euan Henderson. The Edinburgh club also covet more new signings in attacking areas.
The friendly at Bonnyrigg will allow players needing match practice a useful runout, including both Roberts and left-back Stephen Kingsley. “We have a couple of first-team boys needing some game time,” said Neilson.
“Stephen and Jordan both need matches, and there are a few others who could do with a bit extra. Some of the younger boys will join us as well.”
Hearts’ competitive season starts this Saturday with a trip to Peterhead for their first group match in the Premier Sports Cup. Injury concerns are minimal for the visitors after a morale-boosting run of pre-season friendlies.
The latest two came on the Ayrshire coast last weekend – a 1-1 draw with Ayr United followed by a 4-0 success against Falkirk.
“The two games were good for us,” said Neilson. “The Ayr United game was quite a physical one and it's always good in pre-season matches if there's a bit of edge in the tackles. We then beat Falkirk 4-0 but they were decent and played well, so it was two good games for us.”