Hearts seek new centre-back amids doubts over Jimmy Dunne’s return

Burnley's battle against relegation may result in Jimmy Dunne remaining at Turf Moor. Picture: SNS.
Burnley's battle against relegation may result in Jimmy Dunne remaining at Turf Moor. Picture: SNS.
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Hearts manager Craig Levein is in the market for an experienced centre-half after he admitted he was unsure if Jimmy Dunne would be back at the club.

Dunne, who is on loan from Burnley, is currently sidelined after picking up an ankle injury in training earlier this month.

Shortly before this incident it was reported that an agreement “in principle” had been agreed between the clubs for Dunne, pictured, to remain at Tynecastle for the entire season. Now this appears in jeopardy with Burnley currently in the relegation zone after a run of poor results in the English Premier League.

Levein has been linked with a move for former Celtic defender Ciaran Morrison, who moved to the United States three years ago on a sports scholarship. Now 20, he wants to pursue his football career back in Scotland. “We spoke about him but we need an experienced centre-back,” said Levein, who is hopeful John Souttar can return sooner rather than later after treatment for a 
hip complaint.

Skipper Christophe Berra made an earlier-than-expected recovery from a hamstring injury but Hearts still lack options at the back. “I’m not sure we’re going to get Jimmy back and I need another centre-back,” said Levein. “At one point I was going to have a 
look [at Morrison] but I thought I can’t afford to bring in a young one when I might need somebody to play almost immediately after the 
winter break. I think it’s more important that we bring in a more experienced player.

“Jimmy’s got his injury, he’s back down the road,” added Levein. “There’s that distance, and sometimes that makes you feel something won’t 
happen.

“I’m preparing for him 
maybe not being here, but if he’s here I’ll be delighted. I would think he’d be fit for the Livingston cup game [if he does come back].”