Hearts have seen many young players breakout in recent years and make good cases for first-team spots. Harry Cochrane, Connor Smith and Bobby Burns are just some of the Hearts youngsters to have played minutes last season.
Who’ll step up and make that impact during the 2019/20 season? Manager Craig Levein is usually quite open to throwing young players into his Hearts squad and you’d like to think it would be the same next year.
These youngsters have all featured in squads or played for the Jambos last season, but only on a few occasions. Next season could see proper breakouts for these three Hearts prospects.
Probably the most likely to feature on a regular basis at Tynecastle next year, Hickey finished the season strongly. An excellent debut at Parkhead against Celtic was followed up by a brilliant Scottish Cup final performance.
The full-back looks promising, but aged just 16, he needs to be looked after. If he is managed correctly, next season could be the year where Hickey establishes himself in Gorgie.
He has the potential to be special, showing that in his two Celtic outings. He is first-team quality, now Hickey just has to show it on a regular basis.
The midfielder featured in the final day matchup against Celtic. Again, he was another Jambo youth prospect who starred on the day, with great composure on the ball and a decent passing range.
He’s already had first-team experience with the Jambos and out on loan at Falkirk. Next season should be the year where the midfielder makes his claim for regular appearances.
Expect to see more of Irving next term.
The Bulgarian is a versatile player who can play at either centre-half or in midfield. This ability will help his chances of breaking into the Hearts first team massively.
He won the reserves squad’s Player of the Year last season and will hope this coming campaign is the term he progresses from it. Petkov has already appeared in some matchday squads.
Alongside the likes of Christophe Berra and Peter Haring next year, Petkov can learn what it takes to be a Jambos centre-half or midfielder, and may get the chance to show what he’s learned at some stage.