HEARTS winger Arvydas Novikovas revealed today that he will quit Tynecastle if he cannot establish himself as a first-team regular.
The Lithuanian said he is facing the biggest year of his career as he seeks to cement a place in the club’s starting line-up.
Although reluctant to submit a transfer request, Novikovas is concerned that he is not developing enough after starting only six matches for Hearts this season. The 21-year-old admitted he will ask to leave if the situation does not improve next season.
“I’ve been here three and a half years so I need to start playing regularly,” he told the Evening News. “If I’m not going to play I need to move somewhere. I need to show that I can play so next season is going to be a big season. Maybe the biggest of my career.
“I haven’t played much this season so it’s going to be hard right now to find another club. I would need to go on trial or something. I couldn’t sign straight away because I haven’t played many matches. I don’t have an agent either, I just work on my own.
“I want to stay with Hearts, that is my priority. I still have a contract for one more year till the end of next season, so I am looking to see what happens here first.”
Paulo Sergio, the Hearts manager, intends granting younger players like Novikovas more game time after the SPL split. The Edinburgh club can secure top-six status by beating Aberdeen at Tynecastle tomorrow.
“There are a few who, after a hard season like this, have been working hard every week and deserve to have their chance,” explained Sergio. “Denis Prychynenko, Jordon Morton and there are other ones. I believe they have the qualities. I would like to give them a chance before the end of the season.
“They have deserved these chances that we are giving to them. In football nobody gives anything away for nothing, I am giving chances because the players deserve it. It’s up to them if they are strong enough and good enough to be part of that future. When you give a chance to them it is because you believe in them. After that, they are the ones who have to prove it.”
Sergio, meanwhile, is hopeful goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald will overcome a hip problem in time to face Aberdeen. “I think he is going to be OK. If not, we have Mark (Ridgers) and we have Jack (Hamilton), the under-19 goalkeeper who has a good future too. I never cry for the players I do not have, I give confidence for the ones I do have.”