Former Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists Wigan Athletic will provide Jamie Walker with the perfect platform to make an impact south of the border in League One.
Personal terms on a £300,000 move from Hearts have been agreed after the player underwent a medical yesterday but the Latics do not plan to officially unveil their new attacking midfielder until Monday.
Neilson is in charge of Wigan’s league rivals MK Dons and insists the 24-year-old, whom he coached during his two-and-a-half year reign in the Tynecastle dugout, will thrive at his new employers.
Neilson said: “It’s a good club, he’ll get a chance to bed in and they’re a team who are doing extremely well at the top of the league with a big, big squad. They’ve got a big budget.
“I’d expect him to score a few goals there and play some games, and hopefully make that step up to the Championship. The team he’s going to dominate a lot of the games so I think that will definitely help him in the way they play.
“They’ve got guys who are similar to Jamie and that’s the way they play, so it would be a good one for him.
“The big difference between down here and Scotland is the physicality of it; the pace of the players, the pace of the game and the physicality of the game. He’ll have four or five months to bed in to a new club and he’ll be hoping they can go up and push on from there.
“I thought he was excellent when I had him as a player. When I came in I spoke to him about his work rate and I think he’s done that, he’s looked after himself fitness-wise.
“He’s earned himself a move and I’m sure he’ll kick on because there is no doubting his technical ability, that’s for sure.”
Former Rangers target Walker watched team-mate Callum Paterson clinch a move to the Championship a year ago when the Scotland defender joined Cardiff City, but Neilson insists switching a club with ambitions of earning promotion is a sensible transfer.
He added: “The Championship now is becoming a phenomenal league and you’ve got teams buying guys for £15 million and players are moving for £7-£8 million on average.
“It’s very difficult even for players to go from Scotland straight into the Championship. It’s a good move because it will give him the chance to establish himself down here before he makes that jump into the Championship.”