Hamill set to start in Hearts Europa clash

JAMIE HAMILL is poised to make his first competitive start for Hearts in tomorrow's Europa League third qualifying round against Paksi SE. Manager Jim Jefferies admitted today that the versatile 24-year-old is in his thoughts, with a midfield role most likely for Hamill as Ryan McGowan is expected to remain at right-back.

McGowan won the man-of-the-match award against Rangers at Ibrox in the first SPL match of the season and Jefferies is content with the Australian's display in defence. Hamill, who is suspended for the opening two league games, may therefore find himself deputising for the injured Mehdi Taouil in a wide right midfield berth.

"Hamill will be in our thoughts to come in because he's got great appetite and great legs," said Jefferies. "Jamie is comfortable at the back or in midfield, or he might play in another position. You want boys playing in their best positions but sometimes you don't find out their best positions because they are all capable of doing a good job wherever they play.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"They are all happy to get in the team and, if you can play a number of positions, it's a big help to you because it means you are in consideration for two or three places."

Jefferies is hopeful David Obua will arrive in Hungary in time to train with the team this evening. The Ugandan midfielder was still awaiting a visa this morning to join his team-mates after obtaining a new passport last night. Jefferies was less than pleased at the administrative delay, caused by Obua's passport needing renewed as it is full with stamps.

"This is to do with the administration side," explained Jefferies. "Looking at your passport getting stamped isn't something you really look at until someone says there's no room for your visa. It's the rules and he's not been given access to a passport because it's full.

"Coming from this type of country, they've got to get it stamped all the time. We don't. I've not had mine stamped. Because of where he comes from he has to get it stamped and it's full. We've got people at the club who should be dealing with that.

"Obviously, it's an administration problem but it could cause us not to have him available for the game. That would be a blow because in pre-season games - and Saturday proved it - he's done well since coming back."

Hearts will give Obua every chance to make tomorrow's match but Jefferies is keen for him to participate in the teams' final training session tonight. "Getting a flight out here from London wouldn't be a problem, there would be a scheduled flight every day," said Jefferies. "It wouldn't be ideal preparation but I hope he'd arrive in time for a training session at the ground."

Asked if Obua would be able to play if he arrived tomorrow morning, Jefferies replied: "I'd have to see about that. There's no plan to train Thursday. Sometimes people aren't available who'd like to be here."

Hearts are without Taouil and Andy Webster tomorrow evening, both players absent from the travelling party which left Edinburgh airport yesterday.