BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson will decide whether to offer a deal to Krystian Nowak within the next 48 hours as the towering defender continues to train with the Jambos.
The 22-year-old has been on trial with Hearts since the beginning of last week as he searches for a new club following his release by Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biala, who were relegated from the Polish top-flight last season.
Nowak impressed during an inter-squad bounce game on Saturday afternoon and Neilson has invited him to continue training with the capital club, with the 6ft2ins defender working with the first-team squad yesterday.
Nowak made 21 appearances for Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biala last term and was recently on trial with Romanian side FC Botosani during their Austrian training camp, however he was not offered a contract.
Should Hearts snap up the big Pole and rush through international clearance, it remains unlikely the Poland under-21 internationalist would be pitched straight into action against Celtic in Sunday’s eagerly anticipated Premiership opener.
Igor Rossi and John Souttar are expected to line up in central defence against the Hoops, however with Alim Ozturk suspended, Novak could come into contention for a place in the match-day squad.
Neilson has been on the hunt for defensive reinforcements since Scotland under-21 star Jordan McGhee departed the club to join Barclay’s Premier League newcomers Middlesbrough on loan.
He recently ran the rule over Marcel Appiah, however he has now left the club after failing to do enough to win a deal.
Meanwhile, Hearts were last night patiently awaiting international clearance for towering striker Bjorn Johnsen as the FIFA saga rumbles on.
The Jambos announced that the Norwegian marksman had signed a three-year deal with them last month but it subsequently emerged that Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia were laying claim to Johnsen having a contract with them.
The 24-year-old was most recently on the books of Litex Lovech, who were merged with Chavdar Etropole at the behest of owner Grisha Ganchev and renamed CSKA – and Ganchev insists Johnsen has a deal with them.
As a consequence Johnsen is in limbo for the moment, with Hearts desperate to cut through the red tape in time for the former Valerenga and Atletico Baleares striker to play some part against Celtic on Sunday.