Juwon Oshaniwa ‘in phenomenal’ shape and fit for Dens

Juwon Oshaniwa has signed a three-year deal
Juwon Oshaniwa has signed a three-year deal
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Juwon Oshaniwa is in contention to make his Hearts debut against Dundee this Saturday.

The Nigerian left-back finally completed his protracted move to Tynecastle last Friday, when he arrived in Edinburgh to sign a three-year contract.

The 24-year-old watched from the stand on Sunday as his new colleagues started their Scottish Premiership campaign with a 4-3 home win over St Johnstone.

However, Hearts’ coaching staff are impressed with his fitness levels and are mulling over whether to start the much-vaunted new recruit at Dens Park this weekend.

“Juwon’s definitely got a chance of being involved on Saturday,” head coach Robbie Neilson told the Evening News. “He wanted to play against St Johnstone but we felt it was just a wee bit early for him considering he’s only arrived and hasn’t trained with us.

“He’s here for three years so we didn’t want to rush him and take any risks considering he’s barely trained with us. He’s bang on fitness-wise, though. He’s in phenomenal condition so he’ll be available for Dundee.”

The other high-profile absentee from Sunday’s squad was Miguel Pallardo. However, the Spaniard has no chance of featuring at Dundee as he continues his recovery from the Achilles problem that has plagued his pre-season.

“Miguel will be another week or two yet,” said Neilson. “We’re hoping it’ll not be too bad but because it’s an Achilles problem, we’ll need to be careful with it. He definitely won’t be ready for Saturday.”

Neilson also confirmed that, barring any change in circumstances in the remainder of August, Hearts are unlikely to be adding any more new faces. Oshaniwa’s arrival means the Tynecastle side have recruited five first-team players this summer. “That’s us done and dusted on the signing front,” said the head coach.

Meanwhile, Hearts’ development team play their opening league game of the season against Rangers at Dumbarton tonight (6pm kick-off). Kevin McHattie, Jordan McGhee, Kenny Anderson and Gary Oliver are among those likely to feature for Jack Ross’s side.