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Conor Shaughnessy bound for Tynecastle Park in January?

The Irish under 21 international is on Craig Levein’s hit list for 2019.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

According to reports in the Scottish media, Conor Shaughnessy appears set to join Hearts on loan from Leeds United in January. The Galway man was in Edinburgh at the weekend and was spotted at Easter Park on Saturday where he saw Hearts defeat their city rivals Hibs by a single goal. Hearts are looking for reinforcements at centre-back with Jimmy Dunne, on loan from Burnley, currently sidelined and possessing a contract with the Edinburgh side that is due to expire in February. Hearts’ Manager Craig Levein appears to rate Shaughnessy and sees the Republic of Ireland Under 21 international as the answer to his squad’s defensive deficiencies. Interestingly enough Shaughnessy’s brother, Joe, plays for St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League and this may influence a move up north for Conor.

Conor Shaughnessy has been plagued with injuries since he made his Leeds Utd debut in a 3-2 win over Bolton on 6th August 2017. A midfielder by trade, Shaughnessy was utilised by Thomas Christiansen at the heart of the Leeds defence and, for the most part, looked decent. He was handed a four year contract by Leeds soon after his debut and got called up to the Ireland Under 21 squad. Things were looking good for Shaughnessy until an ankle injury sustained in a match against Hull City in January 2018 royally kiboshed the rest of his season.

Over the summer of 2018 Leeds didn’t sign a central defender and Shaughnessy must have felt that, at the very least, a place on the bench was more than a realistic target for the new season. He was selected to play against Preston North End in the League Cup in August of this year but looked shaky and was replaced at half time. Further niggling injuries so far this season have hampered his chances of impressing Marcelo Bielsa and with the recent emergence of Alpo Halme and Leif Davis, perhaps a loan move to Hearts may be just the ticket for Shaughnessy, who at 22, needs regular first team football if he is to have a future at Leeds Utd.

Furthermore, if Shaughnessy does leave, Leeds fans will be calling out for a defender in January to strengthen the squad which is beginning to look fatigued just now. Championship rivals West Brom have just secured the services of Mason Holgate in the last 24 hours, who is a player that was linked with Leeds in the press. The time to show real intent is coming. It’s the least Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds Utd fans deserve.