BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Canadian youth international Dario Zanatta is expected to sign a two-year contract with Hearts after impressing on trial.
The 18-year-old forward, who can also play in midfield, featured in the pre-season friendlies at Stirling Albion and Cowdenbeath this week.
Zanatta had been part of the Vancouver Whitecaps residency programme after joining as a 14-year-old in September 2011, but is now set to link up with Jack Ross’ Under-20 side at the Tynecastle outfit.
Neilson said: “We’re trying to get Dario in. He’s been at Vancouver and was on trial at the end of last season.
“He’s come back in again for pre-season and we like him, so we’re just trying to get something sorted.”
Hearts director of football Craig Levein, meanwhile, has warned the club’s supporters that life back in the top flight will not be plain sailing.
The Gorgie side cantered to the Championship title last season, winning 29 games out of 36 to amass a record 91 points.
Neilson has kept the core of the squad that triumphed last term and added defender Blazej Augustyn and strikers Juanma Delgado and Gavin Reilly.
Hearts have already sold over 13,000 season tickets for their return to the Premiership but Levein concedes it will be difficult to replicate that dominance this time.
He said: “We’re coming up against teams that are established, that’s our biggest problem.
“We’re not established, we’ve got some young kids that played here a couple of seasons ago, which will help, and with the new additions it will help again.
“A lot of players haven’t played in this league before, it takes a while to understand sometimes what the important things are when you go to a new club and a new division.
“There is an element of, you’ll have to see how they settle but on first sight I’m hopeful.
“Last year Robbie did a fantastic job with players thrown together. The season prior to that, we had kids that had some really good experience.
“When I say that, I mean opportunities to play football and get used to the environment, and I think that stood them in good stead.”