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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Romanov issues player ultimatum
From left: Paul Hartley, Steven Pressley and Craig Gordon
Pressley (centre) said team morale had plummeted
Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov has warned his players they are all for sale if they do not win this weekend, BBC Scotland has disclosed.

And captain Steven Pressley responded with a statement voicing the players' unhappiness with affairs at the club.

Romanov says he will move players on to "Kilmarnock or whatever club will take them" unless they defeat Dunfermline.

And he has warned that he would then play a team of youngsters against Celtic the following weekend.

BBC Scotland disclosed the latest turn of events only days after Romanov granted head coach Valdas Ivanauskas two weeks' leave on the grounds of ill-health.

Second-placed Hearts lost 2-0 at home to Kilmarnock last weekend, leaving the Edinburgh club eight points adrift of holders Celtic.

While publicly I have expressed the needs for unity, behind the scenes I have made my concerns abundantly clear

Steven Pressley

Eduard Malofeev was appointed interim head coach of the Tynecastle club during Ivanauskas' absence.

And, at Fridays pre-match media conference ahead of Dunfermline's visit, Pressley revealed that there is "significant unrest" in the dressing-room.

Flanked by team-mates Paul Hartley and Craig Gordon, Pressley said in a statement that the last two years had been "testing for the players".

He said the squad wished Ivanauskas well but stressed that trying to maintain team discipline and unity had become "an impossible task".

"This is a statement on behalf of a number of players," he said.

"This statement is no reflection on Eduard Malofeev. My first impression is that he is an honest and diligent man.

MESSAGEBOARD
Hearts supporter

"I would like to wish Valdas a speedy recovery, but whether he returns or not is almost incidental in association with the problems related to this football club.

"I have tried, along with the coaching staff and certain colleagues, to implement the correct values and discipline, but it has become an impossible task.

"There is only so much coaching staff, a captain and certain colleagues can do without the full backing, direction and coherence of the manager and those running the football club.

"While publicly I have expressed the needs for unity, behind the scenes I have made my concerns abundantly clear.

"The last two years have been testing for the players and together they have faced a number of challenges.

"I have worked hard to have retained unity.

"However, due to circumstances, morale understandably is not good and there is significant unrest in the dressing-room."



SEE ALSO
Foulkes and Salmond back Pressley
27 Oct 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Hearts fined for Romanov comments
25 Oct 06 |  Heart of Midlothian
Malofeev relishing temporary job
24 Oct 06 |  Heart of Midlothian


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