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Stevenson calls for Budge to keep Locke

RYAN STEVENSON has urged Hearts chairwoman-in-waiting Ann Budge to confirm that Gary Locke will be given the manager's job before the end of the week and prevent another summer of uncertainty at Tynecastle.

The 29-year-old became accustomed to the soap opera that surrounded Hearts during his first spell under the ill-fated Vladimir Romanov regime and was on holiday last year when the news came through that it was being put into administration.

Budge has not yet completed her takeover as she waits for paperwork relating to the transfer of shares from UKIO Bankas to be completed, but Stevenson would like to see Locke given assurances on his future before Hearts play their final game of the current campaign away to St Mirren on Saturday.

"I said that to the manager last week that I can't remember a summer since coming here where I have not been on tenterhooks, checking my phone," he said. "Last year, I was on holiday when the message came through that we were in administration, so it would be fitting if we could finish the season strongly, the manager can go away knowing he is going to be here next season and we know he's going to be here.

"I think you can see that every single player is vouching for him and his assistant, Billy Brown. "Hopefully, Mrs Budge can come in, we can have a good summer, he can build and we can go into the Championship not just looking to finish second, but win the league."

Fresh from scoring a hat-trick in Hearts' 5-0 home win over Kilmarnock on Sunday, Stevenson believes recent displays have made it all the more apparent that Locke must be given the opportunity to manage the club free from the hindrances of administration, cost-cutting and player departures.

"For me it is a no brainer," added Stevenson. "He has worked wonders this year as a coach and manager. Bringing on the young boys has been a test in itself. Once the new owner comes in, it would be great to see him make his own signings and put his own stamp on the team."

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