Hearts caretaker boss Jon Daly has urged Jamie Walker to show Rangers why the Tynecastle club value him at £1 million.
A third failed bid in the region of £600,000 was booted out by the Gorgie outfit in June, with Hearts holding out for at least a seven-figure fee.
Walker was left out of the squad for the recent defeats to Dunfermline and Celtic after having his ‘head-turned’ by Rangers much-publicised pursuit but was an unused substitute in last weekend’s narrow 1-0 victory at Kilmarnock.
And former Rangers striker Daly reckons a clash with Pedro Caixinha’s side could bring out the best in the 24-year-old.
Daly said: “It’s a situation where he’s playing against a club who are interested in him.
“And to show them he is worth the valuation we value him at he needs to perform.
“So we’re hopeful he will go out and put on the kind of performance he is more than capable of.
“He’s in the shop window, the window is still open and until that window shuts he remains our player.
“There was a bid that was rejected due to it not being the sufficient amount we require so the situation is still the same.
“And it will remain the same until we get a bid of the required amount.”
Daly, who is preparing to take charge of his third game since Ian Cathro was axed, added: “His head is right. It unsettled him initially, as is understandable when a club the size of Rangers make a bid.
“But he’s focused now, we have had a couple of chats with him about what we expect of him and what we need him to do.
“He has done everything we have asked of him in training so he has put himself back in with a chance of playing.
“We hoped to get him on to the pitch last week but with the red cards and the way the game panned out I don’t think it was a game that would have suited his style.
“This weekend is different, a different type of game and we’re looking for different personnel. If he starts or comes off the bench, I would imagine that he’ll be quite comfortable and happy to deal with anything that comes his way.
“I would imagine he will get a fairly decent reception as well, to be honest. I think it will be a game he is looking forward to playing in.”
Hearts were given a double boost off the pitch yesterday after striker Esmael Goncalves had his red card rescinded on appeal and experienced midfielder Don Cowie signed a one-year contract extension.
Portuguese marksman Goncalves scored the only goal in last Saturday’s win at Rugby Park but was later ordered off for reacting to having his hair pulled by Kirk Broadfoot, who was also shown a red card.
Having scored three goals in his last three games, Daly is delighted to have the 26-year-old at his disposal.
Daly said: “He is a big player for the club.
“I think he’s more of a handful through the middle and, as he showed last week, when he gets opportunities he is more than clinical.
“He puts his chances away and to have a player like that, someone who can score goals, that’s what you need.
“I think it was common sense. Having seen it back I don’t think he has retaliated. For me retaliation is throwing your arm back with a bit of vengeance and malice which I don’t think he has done. He has tried to push someone off as you would do if you were getting your hair pulled.”
Vice-captain Cowie, who is now contracted to Hearts until 2019, is looking to shake off a hamstring niggle to face Rangers and Daly insists the former Watford and Cardiff City player is a huge influence in the dressing room.
He added: “Don’s a model pro, he looks after himself really well off the park. He makes sure he is ready to go when it comes to match days.
“And I am absolutely delighted for Don he has got his contract extended, it’s well deserved.
“He’s arguably been one of our best players since he has been here, so it’s definitely warranted.
“He’s someone who with the experience he has, we’ll look for in games of this magnitude.”