Hearts are now hoping to go Dutch
16 Mar 1996
HEARTS, who have a Frenchman, Italian, and a Swede, are interested in adding a Dutchman to their cosmopolitan dressing room.
The man concerned is 31-year-old Alfons Groenendyk, the midfield controller of one of the smartest young teams in Holland, Sparta Rotterdam.
It is believed Hearts manager Jim Jefferies watched him last week.
Former Manchester City player Groenendyk's contract has a year to run but he has an agreement with his club that he can leave at any time if a fee of around £40,000 is paid.
His own terms would then need to be accommodated.
The player is a key figure in a side that has many talented youngsters, besides the De Nooyer twins, Gerard and Dennis, watched by Celtic earlier in the season.
Sparta may try to keep Groenendyk until they have played a cup semi-final against Feyenoord as they chase a place in Europe.
Like Hearts, who are in the cup semis here, they also are chasing a high enough league position to qualify for a UEFA spot.
Meanwhile, two of the foreigners at Tynecastle, Frenchman Gilles Rousset and Italian Pasquale Bruno, will be in the team to meet Hibs at Tynecastle this afternoon.
Jefferies has not been enamoured by his team's recent showings but anticipated a dip in form after their fine run earlier and is pleased that they have been able to win while below their best.
His only absentee is suspended Neil Berry.
Hibs could bring back Gordon Hunter, who has made a remarkable recovery after having gone through an operation on an Achilles tendon six weeks ago.
The defender had been expected to be out for the rest of the season, but has now played two reserve games and is ready and willing if selected.
"I didn't think I would be ready this quickly," he said, "but the surgeon gave me the all clear and I feel fine." Alex Miller, the Hibs manager, is not saying if the former captain will be back but singled out Darren Jackson as being a key player for his team.
"I feel that international experience has helped mature Darren.
He is not responding in that petulant way when he feels aggrieved these days." Falkirk and Partick Thistle, who share bottom place, would argue about the importance of their game outdoing anything else on the programme this weekend, and it is certain to be one of those "dour" battles at Brockville.
Thistle will include new £30,000 buy from Celtic, defender Jim Slavin, who has signed a two-year contract with Murdo MacLeod's team.
Tommy Turner returns as will Derek McWilliams.
Even John Lambie, who has been over the course and distance many times, has been trying to keep his players from over emphasising the need to win.
He said: "The last thing I need today is for the lads to be uptight and nervous during the game."
Taken from the Herald