Bristol City tracking Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald
HEARTS goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald has emerged as a possible target for Bristol City.
Robins manager Derek McInnes is in the market for a keeper to replace former England number one David James, who was released at the end of last season.
His requirement is for an experienced keeper to offer genuine competition for first-choice Dean Gerken, who emerged from James' shadow to play in the final eight games of last season, helping City remain unbeaten during that period.
And The Post understands MacDonald, 26, features on the list of those goalkeepers who are being considered by McInnes.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
A member of the Hearts side that crushed arch-rivals Hibernian 5-1 in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park at the weekend, MacDonald is well known to City's manager, who was in charge at St Johnstone before moving south of the border last October.
But City may be hard-pressed to lure MacDonald to Ashton Gate. Born and bred in the Edinburgh area, the former Scotland Under-21 international is a lifelong Hearts fan and signed a new two-year deal in January.
That deal also carries the option of a year's extension, potentially tying the highly-regarded keeper to Tynecastle until 2015.
Having been forced to play second fiddle to Steve Banks, Janos Balogh and, more recently, Marian Kello since making his debut against Rangers at Ibrox in August 2008, MacDonald is now close to achieving his ambition of establishing himself as the club's number one keeper.
Slovakian stopper Kello is expected to leave Hearts when his contract expires at the end of the month, leaving the way clear for MacDonald, who made 19 appearances in the season just finished, the majority of them after agreeing a new deal at the start of the year.
And Hearts are also able to offer the prospect of Europa League football following Saturday's Scottish Cup final triumph.
But the Scottish Premier League club are under pressure to cut costs and balance the books and may be tempted should City firm up their interest with a formal offer.
The npower Championship could also prove an attractive proposition for MacDonald, who could conceivably earn more money and further his game in England.
Meanwhile, former City keeper James says he wants to play on after failing to land a new contract at Ashton Gate.
The 41-year-old was among eight players told they had no future at the club when McInnes released his retained list earlier this month.
James made over 80 appearances during his two seasons with the Robins following his arrival from Portsmouth and has no plans to retire just yet.
"I'm still looking to play next season. I've had a few little niggles, but I still feel great," said James.
"In the meantime, I've been doing my B-level coaching badges – hopefully I will be able to complete my UEFA Pro-Licence, eventually with a view to moving into management."