Dunfermline 0 - 2 Hearts: John Sutton answers call as Hearts seek to resolve lack of strikers
He WAS regarded as expendable last season by Paulo Sergio. Now, John Sutton is the man on whom Hearts and new manager John McGlynn are pinning their hopes to spearhead their attack.
Signed by Jim Jefferies on a three-year contract last summer, the 28-year-old was marginalised by Sergio following the Portuguese coach’s appointment in August.
Sutton’s lowly status in the pecking order was confirmed when he was loaned to Australian side Central Coast Mariners for the second part of the campaign after just nine league starts.
But with Craig Beattie, Stephen Elliott and Rudi Skacel departing this summer, McGlynn has had no choice but to give Sutton his chance.
McGlynn has concerns over the paucity of strikers at the club, but Sutton has provided hope that he can be relied upon as the team’s principle striker. The former Motherwell player netted his second goal of pre-season in Saturday’s 2-0 victory in Dunfermline.
“He will want to make an impact this season at Hearts,” said McGlynn, who has Gordon Smith to come back after the striker was recently left hospitalised with tonsillitis.
“John is getting a chance at the minute and it’s up to him to take it. He got a goal against Raith Rovers and a penalty against Dunfermline. He caused them problems. I think he is taking his opportunity right now. Hopefully he is getting up speed.
“John has taken part in every training session we’ve put on, he has started every game and put in a lot of minutes on the pitch. He should be feeling good about himself. He is a target-type striker and he’ll put himself about. He’ll get headers and knock it down.”
The short trip across the Forth to face the Pars was Hearts’ third warm-up clash following outings at Raith and Falkirk.
With former Hearts manager Jefferies in the opposite dugout, the Tynecastle side controlled the game from start to finish and could have won by a more convincing scoreline.
After some profligate finishing, Andy Webster gave the visitors a 34th minute lead when he volleyed Ryan McGowan’s knockdown into the net from six yards following a David Templeton corner.
Hearts continued to press after the break and their dominance was rewarded in the 77th minute when Sutton sent former Hibs goalkeeper Graeme Smith, who was playing as a trialist, the wrong way from the penalty spot after David Templeton had been tripped by fellow trialist Stephen Jordan.
The Hearts support had also been on their feet on the hour mark to welcome Kevin Kyle, who endured an injury-plagued time at Tynecastle, on to the pitch as he made his second appearance as an unsigned player for the hosts.
Former Hearts youngster Stephen Husband also featured for the Pars as a trialist.
Jefferies, whose side begin competitive action next week in the Ramsdens Cup at Forfar, insists he is playing catch-up after Dunfermline were affected by the Rangers fall-out.
The Fife club only found out last Monday that they will definitely be playing First Division football after Dundee were promoted to replace the liquidated Glasgow club.
Jefferies believes his team should be granted an extension to the summer transfer window. He said: “We’re well behind everyone else, so that’s why there will be a lot of work done between now and the end of January.
“In fact, because of the shambles that’s gone on they should give us until the end of September to sign players.
“We’ve been stopped from really signing players due to not knowing what division we’re going to be in.
“We had to put everything on hold. We have lost players that we had hanging on, hanging on and hanging on until they could not hang on any longer. You go back for them and they say, ‘sorry I’ve signed for so and so’.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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