Fresh op sidelines Hearts defender Barr until after Christmas

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HEARTS defender Darren Barr has undergone a second hernia operation which will sideline him until after Christmas.

When fit, he faces a critical period in his career as manager Paulo Sergio must decide whether he has a future at Tynecastle.

Barr, 26, had surgery earlier this year to cure a hernia problem on one side. At the time doctors contemplated a double hernia operation but chose only to do one. The other side flared up last month and the player travelled to Manchester for further surgery.

Having made just one appearance for Hearts this season, Barr is eager to regain fitness quickly and convince Sergio that he merits a regular first-team place. He is expected to be available to play again in January for the Portuguese coach to decide on his future.

Barr’s Hearts contract expires in June 2013, although he fears being included in the forthcoming squad cull which will take place at the Edinburgh club between January and June next year. His only outing this season came in the Scottish Communities League Cup third round tie away to Ayr United, which Hearts lost on penalties.

“Darren’s been unfortunate because he was just getting involved in the team a bit more and then this injury flared up,” explained the player’s agent, Kevin Drinkell.

“He wants to get fit again and then put himself in front of the manager for him to make his mind up.”

Barr joined Hearts on a pre-contract agreement in summer 2010 but was used only sparingly by former manager Jim Jefferies. Sergio replaced Jefferies in August this year but Barr has hitherto been denied the opportunity to make a genuine impression on the new incumbent.