Hearts will take no risks with Jamie Walker’s fitness after thigh injury
Hearts manager Craig Levein pledged to take no risks with Jamie Walker’s fitness after leaving him out of Saturday’s friendly with Glenavon.
It remains to be seen if the forward can manage a second debut at Tynecastle Park in Friday’s opening Betfred Cup tie with Dundee United.
Levein revealed that Walker wanted to try playing in the final match of Hearts’ Irish tour in Lurgan, but the manager decided not to take a chance.
The new signing is now doubtful to face United, but Levein is determined to protect him. “I’m more likely to pick the players who look most ready, rather than the best team [on Friday],” said the manager.
“Walker felt his thigh just before kick-off on Saturday. I was obviously hoping he would play, but I didn’t want to take a chance. It’s not bad because he just felt it, there was nothing major.
“He did feel something so we decided not to risk him as a precaution. If it is very minor then he might be okay for Angus Beith’s match tonight. If not, then I’ve got a decision to make with him regarding where he is in his quest for fitness.
“He said he was going to try it but I thought: ‘What’s the point?’ We’re getting so close to the start and he hasn’t done an awful lot because he’s had this injury.
“Aidy White got through 45 minutes without any problems, which was good. He is still on the road to recovery so I’m pleased for him.”
Walker would have played as a trialist in Northern Ireland as international clearance for his transfer from Wigan Athletic had yet to arrive. Hearts are waiting on the English FA clearing a mountain of paperwork. They expect it to be done before Friday to allow the player to face United if fit.
“There is a backlog but I’m not worried about that,” said Levein. “Jamie has signed his contract and it has been lodged but he hasn’t been registered because we’re waiting on clearance. I don’t think there are any issues.”