HEARTS manager Robbie Neilson admits that Jamie Walker was allowed to depart Tynecastle as he couldn't give the 28-year-old assurances over his playing time.

The attacking midfielder has joined Bradford in England's fourth tier on loan until the end of the season after struggling for minutes this season.

Walker, who returned to the capital for a second stint with Hearts in 2019, has made four Premiership appearances this term, all via the bench.

Speaking to the club's website, Neilson admitted the deal to send the former Scotland Under-21 internationalist to Valley Parade was arranged so Walker could secure regular first-team football.

"The move comes down to the fact that Jamie wants to play more games," Neilson said. "We have a really strong squad and competition for places is fierce, so there are no guarantees that anyone will be an automatic starter.

"There is no doubting Jamie’s talent and whilst I would have been delighted to have him here with us for the second half the season, we must respect his decision and desire to play regular first-team football.

"Jamie goes to Bradford with our best wishes and the group now returns to training as we prepare to build upon what has been a fantastic first part of the campaign."