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Clevid Dikamona signs extension to Hearts contract

The defender has extended his stay at Tynecastle until the summer of 2020.

Hearts defender Clevid Dikamona has extended his contract with the club.

The club were given another boost when they learned Steven Naismith may return before the end of the season.

Dikamona's existing deal was due to expire this summer but the stopper will remain with the club for a further year after impressing for Craig Levein's side.

The Congolese international has made 19 league appearances for his side this season, scoring once.

It's another step forward as Levein starts planning for next season.

"I think we're getting there," the manager said. "We had progress in the last month or so with a lot of the players that we're really keen on keeping and are the building blocks for success.

"I'm quite happy in the way things are going on that front. We've still got one or two things to try and do but I'm quite happy with how we're looking going in to next season.

"And I think we'll only need to make two or three signings in the summer, all being well."

Levein confirmed that he was interested in making Livingston's Craig Halkett one of those signings. The Livi captain is out of contract at the end of this season.

The Hearts boss also returned to his complaint about the treatment Uche Ikpeazu is getting from opposition players. Levein has said that the powerful striker isn't getting enough protection from referees and he believes officials are still trying to "figure him out".

Following the cup replay against Partick Thistle on Tuesday, opposition boss Gary Caldwell accused the forward of going down "like a little girl" on some occasions, only to use his physique to bully defenders on others.

Levein said: "I keep going on about it but he doesn't half get some rough treatment.

"Just because he's a big guy everyone thinks it's ok to have a pop at him.

"To be fair to him he's handled it well. I don't know if I would be as calm under some of the provocation that he's gets.Overall I've been really pleased with him."

Responding to Caldwell's comments, he said: "Managers sometimes talk rubbish, don't they? I include myself in that.

"He gets fouled a lot. People are trying to prove that they're stronger than him and it's not very easy because he is such an athlete. A strong boy.

"I think he's new in the league and the referees are trying to work him out as well. But you shouldn't be penalised for being stronger than somebody and he quite often gets penalised for that."

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