JON DALY will be given one last match to prove he is the man to become the Hearts head coach permanently as the Tynecastle outfit prepare to make an appointment next week.
Club owner Ann Budge has revealed the Irishman will remain in charge for Saturday’s trip to face Motherwell after impressing in the role since taking over temporarily in the wake of the sacking of Ian Cathro.
Budge has praised Daly, who has steered the side to a goalless draw against Rangers and a win over Kilmarnock since an opening-day defeat to Celtic, saying he has ‘stepped up to the mark brilliantly’.
With Dougie Freedman and Billy Davies removing themselves from what was thought to be a five-man short-list in the last 48 hours, Daly appears now to be fighting it out with former players Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley to become Cathro’s successor.
Budge said: “With regard to on-field matters, I repeat what was said in my previous statement, namely that the board will not rush the new management appointment.
“We did receive lots of interest and we have conducted a number of interviews. The calibre of interviewee was very high and every candidate was worthy of very serious consideration.
“I would like to publicly thank all of them for the time and trouble taken in preparing for and attending these meetings.
“As well as interviewing short-listed candidates, we have also conducted a review of our ‘football operation’ – both against our initial three-year plan and, importantly, against our new three-year plan – to confirm the suitability of our current management model as the club continues to progress.
“While this has been going on, Jon Daly, supported by the other members of the coaching staff, has stepped up to the mark brilliantly and filled the role of interim head coach admirably.
“Jon will continue to do so for the Motherwell game.
“An announcement will be made regarding a permanent appointment next week.”
Budge has also confirmed the impending departure of Scot Gardiner from his role as chief operating officer next week.
Despite his exit at the end of his fixed-term contract, which was designed to help ease the new Hearts regime into place, the Gorgie chairwoman has thanked the former Dundee chief executive for his work in the last three years.
Budge, who insisted the new main stand is on schedule for its new opening date of November 5, added: “We all now know considerably more about running a football business and the design of the new stand is effectively complete.
“The time has, therefore, come for Scot to move on, particularly in light of the fact that he has recently had a health scare to deal with and needs some personal time.
“Scot’s advice and guidance to me, and to this club, has been invaluable and he goes with our very best wishes for his future success.”