Trio set to leave Hearts as head coach Robbie Neilson revamps squad

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BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport

ROBBIE Neilson has revealed Hearts will say goodbye to a trio of first-team stars this summer as he revamps the squad ahead of their Europa League campaign.

Defender Blazej Augustyn will not be offered a new contract when his current 12-month agreement expires in the coming weeks and midfielder Miguel Pallardo is also to leave Tynecastle after two seasons with the club.

Joining them in departing after the final match of the campaign against St Johnstone on Sunday is striker Abiola Dauda, who is to return to Vitesse Arnhem at the end of his loan spell in Gorgie.

(Pic: Twitter @JamTarts)
(Pic: Twitter @JamTarts)

Although the decision to free Pallardo, who has started only 13 times this season and faces fierce midfield competition, may not come as much of a shock, the departure of Augustyn could surprise supporters more.

The 28-year-old former Bolton Wanderers, Legia Warsaw and Catania stopper has made 27 appearances since joining last summer but has been used more sparingly since the arrival of John Souttar in January.

Neilson said: “We had discussions with Blazej and Miguel, and all parties decided the time was right for the guys to continue their careers elsewhere.

“Miguel has been a great servant to the club and was a vital part in helping us to get out of the Championship last season.

“He’s done fantastically well for us but he’s at an age where he needs to play every week. He hasn’t done that this year and it’ll be a similar situation next season.

“He wants to play football so he goes with our best wishes and thanks. He helped us secure the Championship and third place and I’m sure he’ll move on to good things.

“I’m sure people in Scotland will be interested in him. But whether he wants to go home, it will be more of a family thing, because he’s got a couple of young kids.

“Blazej came in and has been a really important part of the team. Our defence is the second best in the Premiership and he has played a major part in that.

“He’s helped improve the team and taken us to the next level, so he leaves with our best wishes.”

Thank you

Joining the out-of-contract duo in leaving is striker Dauda, who signed for the club on the final day of the January transfer window on loan from Vitesse in the Netherlands.

The Nigerian netted a brace in his first Premiership outing but has scored just two more in his 13 appearances for the club.

Neilson added: “Abiola will go back. He’s a player we can’t afford to bring in. We did a deal with Vitesse to get him over here but, long-term, it’s not something we can do.”

Meanwhile, Augustyn insists he is leaving Hearts on good terms and has issued a ‘thank you’ to the club for his 12 months in the capital.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Hearts and had a really positive experience in Edinburgh.

“Robbie, the coaching staff and my team-mates have all been very supportive during my time here and it’s been a pleasure to play alongside them.

“The supporters have been great too and they’ve given me many great memories to take away with me.

“I will always look out for Hearts’ results in the future, and I wish everyone connected to the club all the best going forward.”

@IainCollin

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