Hearts still want talks on Josh Ginnelly's future as right-back search continues

Hearts will hold talks with on-loan winger Josh Ginnelly once his injury recovery time becomes clearer.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 10:30 pm
Updated Friday, 5th February 2021, 9:21 am
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson still plans to speak to Josh Ginnelly about the winger's future.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson still plans to speak to Josh Ginnelly about the winger's future.

Club officials still intend to speak to the Englishman about his future and whether he could sign a permanent contract at Tynecastle Park. His loan deal expires this summer along with his deal at parent club Preston North End, leaving him a free agent.

Ginnelly is expected to be sidelined until then after rupturing a hamstring in Hearts’ 4-0 win at Raith Rovers last week. He is due for surgery and Hearts will then aim to sit down with the 23-year-old.

“We will wait for him to get the operation done and see what the rehab time is going to be,” explained manager Robbie Neilson. “We will still have a chat with him and see where we are with things. At this moment in time, the sole focus is on his recovery and getting a timeline for that.

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“He's very disappointed [with the injury] because he has been stop-start this season. He's a great character to have about, he is still adding to the group with his personality. It's up to us to help him through this and get him fit again.”

After signing two wingers, a midfielder and a striker during the January transfer window, Hearts remain in the market for a deputy right-back. Their preference is to leave teenager Cammy Logan on loan at Cove Rangers rather than recall him to compete with first-choice Michael Smith.

“There are still options in the market for free transfers and loans. It's an area where we'd still like to bring one in,” said Neilson.

“We'd like Cammy to get games on loan at Cove Rangers once their matches start again. Then we can see how he does with a view to next season. We'd like a bit of cover there just now but it depends what's out there.”

One person definitely leaving is striker Craig Wighton. He has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Dunfermline this summer.

“Craig has been here a number of years now. We just felt it was time for him to go and get consistent game time,” said Neilson.

“We brought in Armand [Gnanduillet] and I spoke to Craig about his future in the summer, so we wish him all the best. He will still be training and working away here. It's just part of football nowadays.

“We've got Liam Boyce and Gnanduillet in there, so at this moment in time he's still a first-team player but he will sign with Dunfermline and start to prepare for next season. We've got other guys who will be here longer term.”

Asked if Wighton could have left Hearts before Monday night’s transfer deadline, Neilson replied: “If there was a deal to be done and they wanted to pay a fee for him, then we would have been more than happy to do that.

“We see Craig as an asset at the moment. He has scored a number of goals. We aren't going to let a guy who has scored a number of goals just walk out on a free when he's still an asset to the club.”

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