Jimmy Dunne set to extend Hearts loan after ‘deal agreed’ with Burnley

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Jimmy Dunne is set to extend his loan deal at Hearts after a deal was agreed “in principle” with Burnley.

Jambos boss Craig Levein will hold talks with opposite number Sean Dyche in January over the extension but it looks as though the Republic of Ireland defender will spend the rest of the 2018/19 campaign in Edinburgh.

Jimmy Dunne has impressed for Hearts since joining on loan from Burnley. Picture: SNS Group

Jimmy Dunne has impressed for Hearts since joining on loan from Burnley. Picture: SNS Group

Levein said: “I’ve spoken to Sean and we’re going to speak again in January.

“In principle, we felt it was quite a good idea for Jimmy to prolong his stay at Tynecastle.

“I’ve not bottomed that out completely so I’ll do that once I get past these games leading up to the winter break.

Dunne has impressed since joining the club during the summer, and has formed a good partnership with Clevid Dikamona in the heart of the Jambos defence in the absence of Christophe Berra and John Souttar.

He received his first call-up to the Irish national team due to his performances earlier this month.

And Levein, who could have Berra avilable for the visit of Rangers on Ladbrokes Premiership duty on December 2 - three months ahead of schedule - reckons he’ll have to find a place for the on-loan Clarets defender even when the club captain returns to action.

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“I think Jimmy’s done that well that I’d find a place for him,” said the Hearts boss, adding: “Christophe will probably be first back. He’s in for full training for the first time today I believe.

“Steven Naismith will be following him some time in December, so I’m hopeful of having those two back fairly soon.

“We’ve got a bounce game next week and I think [Christophe] will play part of that and we’ll see how he responds.

“If it’s good, then with someone of his experience and quality I want him back in the team as quickly as possible.

“The good thing is he is a sensible guy and he’ll know when he’s right. It will be guided by him more than anything else.”

Levein is still without Jamie Brandon, Uche Ikpeazu and John Souttar, but isn’t planning on adding to his squad during the January transfer window, with Czech striker David Vanecek arriving from FK Teplice.

He continued: “If I can get five long-term injuries back plus David, that’s six new players.

“Touch wood we don’t get any more injuries, but then I’ve got a huge headache on who to select in a good way because then the quality of the squad will be back up to where it was in August time.”