Hearts striker Sutton ready to fight for place at Tynecastle

HEARTS striker John Sutton is determined to fight for his Tynecastle career and convince manager Paulo Sergio that he does have a future with the Edinburgh club.

The Englishman is out of favour having started just two of Sergio’s seven matches in charge so far, with recent reports suggesting the striker is not rated by his Portuguese coach.

However, sources close to Sutton have told the Evening News that he has no intention of quietly slipping into the background. The player has pledged to regain Sergio’s confidence and prove himself worthy of a first-team place.

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Sutton signed a three-year contract with Hearts in May after scoring 17 times for Motherwell last season. He was identified by Sergio’s predecessor, Jim Jefferies, as a player capable of leading the forward line this season with Kevin Kyle still injured.

Sutton started the opening three games of the season under Jefferies but, following Sergio’s arrival, quickly fell out of favour. His last start was a month ago today in the 3-0 defeat of Aberdeen at Tynecastle, when he scored his only two goals for Hearts. Since then he has found himself on the periphery of the first team.

Sutton is bemused by his demotion, however he is eager to remain professional and work harder to endear himself to Sergio over the coming weeks and months.

Should he fail to re-establish himself at Hearts, he would be forced to consider his future when the transfer window opens in January, but for now he has made it clear he is totally committed to staying at Tynecastle.

In Sutton’s absence, Stephen Elliott scored his first goal of the season in the 1-1 draw at Inverness on Saturday. Midfielder Ryan Stevenson has also performed admirably when deployed in attack in recent weeks.

After suffering a setback in his recovery from a persistent hip problem, Kyle is hopeful of restarting training within the next two weeks.