Hearts latest: Steven Naismith issues updates on Scott Fraser deal, Lawrence Shankland availability and who plays in goal

The Jambos are on the verge of signing the midfielder from Charlton ahead of facing Dundee

Steven Naismith expects Scott Fraser to bring fresh “goal threat” to Hearts as the midfielder prepares to complete a transfer from Charlton.

The 28-year-old former Dundee United player has spent the last five-and-a-half years in England with Burton, MK Dons, Ipswich and the Addicks, but he is preparing to return to Scotland with the Jambos. Manager Naismith is hoping the loan deal can be finalised in time for Fraser to be involved in Tuesday’s cinch Premiership match at home to Dundee.

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“He’s been in, we’ve seen him, he’s had his medical, the hold-up is more down to office work and paperwork,” confirmed the Hearts boss. “He’s somebody who will bring experience and a goal threat in the final part of the pitch. He’s an intelligent footballer and it’s something we hope to get done.

Steven Naismith's Hearts team take on Dundee on Tuesday in the Premiership.Steven Naismith's Hearts team take on Dundee on Tuesday in the Premiership.
Steven Naismith's Hearts team take on Dundee on Tuesday in the Premiership.

“People up here have maybe lost touch with him (since he left Dundee United in 2018). He was an exciting prospect at Dundee United and he’s gone down and had a really good career in England. He’s got an appetite to be in the final third, creating chances and scoring goals. He has the vision to see good passes. And on top of that, at 28 he’s got good experience from the English game and he understands what Scottish football is about.”

Naismith also confirmed that talismanic forward Lawrence Shankland will return to lead the attack on Tuesday after he missed Saturday’s Scottish Cup win at Spartans through illness. “Lawrence trained today so he’ll be in the squad,” he said. “He’s a leader and he’s playing probably the best football he ever has so it’s good to have him back.”

Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon was handed his first start in 13 months on Saturday after recovering from a double leg-break and Naismith refused to divulge whether the 41-year-old would retain his place on Tuesday, although he did hint that fellow Scotland keeper Zander Clark, who has deputised in Gordon’s absence, will come back into the side.

“We know what’s happening, you can wait and see,” he said. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. With players you need to be honest and give them the reason you’re making decisions. We’re a close group and everybody understands where they are and what their position is. We’re comfortable with it all. The last month before the break, I think Zander’s level went up from where it was, which was already very good. I think that’s because Craig was back and was fit. At every club, players play their best when they know there’s competition.”