Gary Locke says Hearts face summer of change

Gary Locke: Picture: SNS
Gary Locke: Picture: SNS
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HEARTS manager Gary Locke today predicted massive changes at Tynecastle this summer, hence the arrival of trialists James Musa and Josh Rees.

Locke is preparing for huge transition within his squad and is already assessing potential replacements for players who will be leaving.

The Evening News revealed yesterday that Musa is on trial from Fulham, and he has been joined by Rees from Arsenal. Musa, 21, is an English-born New Zealand Under-23 international defender who is comfortable at centre-back or left-back. Rees, 19, is a wide midfielder who can also play centrally behind a striker.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of months and we know there are a lot of things happening in the summer,” explained Locke. “Hopefully there’s a big transitional period. We have a few players moving on so we need to try and get a few others in. This gives us a chance to look at these boys.

“We’ve had James and Josh recommended to us and they’re up to train for a week so we can get a closer look. There’s nothing else to report. We’re not looking to offer anybody contracts at the moment. We’ve got these two lads up for training and we’ll see how they do. Every club is the same. You get a couple of recommendations, but it’s difficult for us to get down and watch games in England now because there aren’t many at this time of the year. We’ll get a look at these boys and see how they do.”

Locke stressed his team is not under pressure ahead of Sunday’s Edinburgh derby as they attempt to maintain a 12-year record against Hibs. Not since 2000/01 have the Easter Road club gone a season without losing to their biggest rivals, a feat they would achieve if they avoid defeat at Tynecastle.

All three league derbies between the teams this season have ended in draws, with Hibs winning December’s Scottish Cup fourth round tie. That leaves Hearts seeking a win this weekend to maintain an impressive recent record in the fixture.

“The derbies have all been draws in the league this year, which shows there isn’t a lot between the teams,” said Locke. “I don’t think there’s any extra pressure on us because of it. We’ve had a decent record in derbies over the years and my job is to try and maintain that. At the end of the day, it’s about getting three points.

“We want to finish seventh in the SPL, as we’ve said all along. We’re not far off it at the moment. If we win our last two games, we give ourselves a chance so that’s got to be our aim.”

Hearts have sold out all tickets for the match, while Hibs had around 800 seats remaining as of this morning from an initial allocation of 2600.

Meanwhile, Hearts youth player Jordan McGhee has been named in the Scotland Under-20 squad for the ADO Den Haag youth tournament in Holland, which begins on May 31. The 16-year-old defender made his senior debut against St Mirren at Tynecastle last weekend.

• Former Hearts and Aberdeen forward Ernie Winchester has died at the age of 68. He scored 11 goals in 59 competitive appearances for the Tynecastle club between April 1969 and April 1972.