Belfast Telegraph

Hearts full-back Bobby Burns set for Australia switch in search of senior football

Bobby Burns in action for Northern Ireland Under 21s last week.
Bobby Burns in action for Northern Ireland Under 21s last week.
Bobby Burns trained with the Northern Ireland senior squad last Wednesday.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland full-back Bobby Burns is set to complete a move to Australia for a season on loan down under.

After struggling for Hearts game-time at the start of the Scottish Premiership season, Burns will join Newcastle Jets ahead of the A-League kick-off at the end of September.

Burns, 19, will fly out to Australia at the end of the current international break to finalise the move.

He will become a team-mate of Republic of Ireland hero Wes Hoolahan, who joined the club from West Bromwich Albion this summer. Also at the club is Venezuelan international Ronald Vargas, once of Club Brugge and Anderlecht.

Burns is highly rated by international boss Michael O'Neill, having been brought into senior training on several occasions. He was even on the bench for Northern Ireland during Thursday's friendly victory over Luxembourg.

O'Neill and Burns will both be hoping a spell down under can kick-start his professional career and lead to a first senior cap.

Burns signed for Hearts from Glenavon last summer and looked to have made his breakthrough at Tynecastle when, after a loan spell at Livingston and injury problems, he enjoyed a run of starts at the end of the season, ultimately left out of the starting team for the Scottish Cup final despite impressive performances.

The emergence of 17-year-old Scottish left-back Aaron Hickey, who started the 2-1 cup final defeat to Celtic having only made his debut the week before, and the signing of Republic of Ireland international Aidan White, have limited Burns to just one League Cup appearance so far this season.

Burns' chances of game-time down under look good as Newcastle Jets are in the market for a left-back after the departure of Ivan Vujica, who joined new A-League side Western United.

He will become the fourth Northern Irishman to play in the A-League and the second to represent Newcastle Jets, following in the footsteps of Jonny Steele, close friend Aaron Hughes (Melbourne City) and Terry McFlynn (Sydney FC).

Former players at the Jets also include England and Liverpool hero Emile Heskey and ex-Glenavon and Linfield striker Guy Bates.

The club is managed by Edinburgh-born boss Ernie Merrick and finished seventh in the league last season, narrowly missing out on a play-off place.

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