Jamie Walker has already nominated Scott Allan as his player of the year and now the Hearts midfielder hopes Hibernian can join the Tynecastle club in the Premiership next season.
Walker features along with Easter Road rival Allan on the PFA Scotland Championship player of the year shortlist and the pair are among the favourites to lift the award at a dinner in Glasgow at the start of next month.
I don’t know who will get promoted but I would prefer Hibs for the derbyJamie Walker
By then the identity of who has finished below Hearts in the race for second place, which means having to play one less play-off tie, will have been confirmed.
Nothing is guaranteed even then but Walker will wish Allan’s side well when he sees him at the awards presentation, because he is desperate for the Edinburgh derby to continue in the Premiership next season.
“I voted for Scott Allan,” Walker revealed yesterday. “I think Hibs have improved this year and he has been the best player in the league. They have improved since last season and I think it is down to him.
“He’s good on the ball and he makes chances. Every time I have seen him this season he has been great.
“It won’t be good without the derby next year, but Rangers, Queen of the South and Motherwell will be giving it there all as well,” he added. “I don’t know who will claim the place but I would prefer Hibs for the derby.”
With eight goals since the beginning of January, it has been a good few months for Walker, who also became a father for the first time in December, following the birth of son Jace.
“The biggest change is thinking what I used to do before I had the wee man,” said the 21 year-old. “It has helped make me become more mature as a player and a person.
“If you have a bad game or a bad day and then you go home to the wee man it helps take your mind off it.”
The good news for Hearts fans is that Walker sounds as happy as ever to remain at the club, where he signed a new three-year contract last summer. There was some interest from Spanish club Real Betis in January and the player knows he cannot do anything about it if Hearts wish to sell him. But he is content to remain where he is and help the Tynecastle club realise their ambitions to finish in the top six next season.
“I’m settled here and playing well and I wouldn’t want to change that,” he said. “But, you never know in football. If the right offer came along and Hearts accepted it you never know where you could end up.
“I’m happy here and still have two years on my contract. If the right offer did come along I have a family now so I need to think about them. We will see what happens in the summer.
“It’s exciting times for the club,” he added. “This season we have done well in the Championship but going to Pittodrie and Tannadice will be a lot harder than going to Alloa. Europe will also be in the back of people’s minds, but we are just hoping to get a good start to the season and see where it takes us.”