Hearts set challenge for Jamie Walker and Aaron McEneff after midfield pair miss out on Hibs derby
Jamie Walker and Aaron McEneff face a clear challenge in order to reclaim first-team places at Hearts.
Both players were omitted from the matchday squad for Sunday’s Edinburgh derby draw with Hibs after several new signings arrived at Tynecastle Park in recent weeks.
Manager Robbie Neilson explained the selection decision to the midfielders on the morning of the match, advising them to work hard and take any opportunity which comes their way.
He admitted it was a hard choice to leave Walker and McEneff in the stand but insisted they can force their way back into the squad – and must be ready when that happens.
“To be honest, it’s a really difficult one. I spoke to both of them before the game on Sunday. We are now carrying a really strong squad with everyone fit apart from young Cammy Logan,” Neilson told the Evening News.
“That means there are going to be boys who don’t make it into the squad on matchdays. They have to continue working hard, which they will, and make sure that when they come in, they are 100 per cent at it to make sure they stay in.
“This is part and parcel of being at a big football club. I swayed on Saturday about what we were going to do and who we would need on the bench for the Hibs game.
“Three or four weeks ago we named the bench with only six players on it because we didn’t have enough players. We had a few injuries plus some players who hadn’t joined the club at that point.
“Now we have a strong squad. On Sunday we were able to bring Taylor Moore on as cover when Michael Smith went off. We were able to bring Josh Ginnelly and Barrie McKay on, yet we are still sitting with Jamie Walker and Aaron McEneff who didn’t even make the bench.”
New signing Cameron Devlin was an unused substitute on Sunday and is therefore still waiting to make his Hearts debut. He should be in contention to appear at some stage this weekend at Ross County.