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Juho tells Hearts: I'm over here and ready

JUHO MAKELA today urged boss Csaba Laszlo to give him the chance to shoot down Motherwell at Tynecastle this weekend – almost two years after he last started a game for Hearts in Gorgie. Since signing from HJK Helsinki in January 2006, Makela has failed to justify his £500,000 price tag with appearances few and far between.
He was loaned out to his former employees for much of last term but re-joined the Jambos for their pre-season tour of Germany.

With striking options thin on the ground, the big Finn was given the chance to impress and netted in a 6-0 win over Rhei

ngau although was guilty of passing up a number of opportunities during defeats to Kaiserslautern and SV Wehen Wiesbaden.

He managed only a late substitute's appearance in the win over Hull City at the weekend.

Makela is well aware he's running out of opportunities if he is to kick-start his stuttering Hearts career with a manager and fans who have yet to be convinced he can cut it at the top level.

But the striker is keeping his fingers crossed that he is given the nod to start against Motherwell in the SPL opener as he bids to finally prove himself.

"I came back to Hearts to try and get in the first team and score goals," he said. "In Germany I scored in one game but I wasn't able to score in the other two even though I had chances. Both games were quite good and we created a lot of chances but we didn't use them and that was a disappointment.

"My aim is to make it right now and I realise that I can't get too many chances before I score.

"I feel that this is my time at Hearts. I realise that right now there are not many strikers available. People have left, we have a couple of injuries and a couple of young lads so there is a good chance for me.

"I hope that when I get the chance I will use it. I had a good spell in Finland and I enjoyed playing football again and scored a lot of goals. But it would be nice to make it here and that is why I'm here. I believe that I can do it."

Makela has quickly become the forgotten man of Tynecastle and you have to go back to a 4-0 win over Dundee United at the start of October 2006 for the last time he started a game in Gorgie.

The Jambos thrashed United with Makela grabbing a rare league goal in maroon that day to follow up a CIS Cup hat-trick against Alloa just a couple of weeks earlier.

It looked as though his career in Scotland was set to take off but he quickly found himself back on the periphery of things and unable to command a regular starting berth.

However, the Finn revealed he is not concerned by his lack of appearances and goals for the club and insisted that if he is handed an opportunity to show the Gorgie faithful what he can do he is confident he can take it.

"I have only started one game at Tynecastle and I scored," added the 25-year-old. "Hopefully next chance I get the result will be the same and I will score.

"I always want to do well when I take to the pitch and, although I've missed chances in pre-season, I am not worried. Every striker has spells when they score a lot and spells when they miss.

"Just look at Luca Toni. He scored something like 40 goals in Germany and then came the European Championships and he couldn't score at all. Every striker sometimes has problems but if you believe and continue to work hard then things will come right.

"I am always working hard and because of this I believe that things will go right for me and that I will be able to score goals for Hearts."

Since re-joining the club Makela has been working hard under the stewardship of new manager Laszlo. And the striker believes that the appointment of the former Ugandan national boss as Hearts manager can only help his prospects of changing his fortunes at the club. The Hungarian coach has impressed supporters and players alike since arriving at the Jambos and has vowed to give those currently on the books the chance to shine before he looks to recruit new faces. With Calum Elliot seemingly out of the picture for the time being and Christian Nade deemed short of fitness by Laszlo, Makela only has Jamie Mole and young Gary Glen for competition in the striking positions.

Laszlo has already held a series of one-on-one meetings with his squad telling them exactly what he expects of them and has set individual targets for each of them over the course of the season.

And Makela insisted that he expects this new approach to pay dividends. "I have been very impressed. My first impressions have been good," he said.

"He has really taken the team into his hands and given really clear advice on what he wants us to do. He has rules for everything and discipline is very good. I like that in a manager and think it is very important.

"He gives a lot of advice and he enjoys having one-to-one discussions with the players which has not always been the case in the past. I think this helps players as they then know exactly what is expected. I have spoken to him a lot and I hope the relationship continues like that because when you take to the field you know exactly what he wants. I feel I can do well under his management. It is important that we get the season off to a good start but there is no reason why we can't do that and then try and build from there."

Taken from the Scotsman

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