Interest from England hots up for Hearts winger Andy Driver

CRYSTAL PALACE and Bristol City are the latest clubs to join the race for Hearts winger Andy Driver, who is expected to leave the Edinburgh club on loan during the current transfer window.

Dougie Freedman, the Palace manager, and his Bristol counterpart Derek McInnes are both aware of the player’s availability although the Evening News has learned that Freedman is particularly keen to lure him to London. Other interested parties include Burnley and FC Twente of Holland.

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Driver submitted a transfer request to Hearts two weeks ago complaining of a lack of first-team opportunities. He has been used sparingly since Paulo Sergio replaced Jim Jefferies as manager in August and has grown frustrated at the restricted game time.

Hearts are willing to loan him out for free to any club who can match his wages and the 24-year-old is keen to test himself in the English Championship. Crystal Palace hold particular allure as a club with a chance of reaching the League Cup final and which is still in contention for a play-off spot.

McInnes, though, is an admirer of Driver from his time managing St Johnstone. He will consider a loan provided he can free up space in his squad at Ashton Gate before the end of the month. Driver’s Hearts contract expires in June 2013 and he is keen to put himself in the shop window by moving on loan before potentially securing a permanent transfer thereafter.