HEARTS must inform Republic of Ireland striker Stephen Elliott whether he has a future at Tynecastle by the 31st of the month or he will be entitled to leave the club on freedom of contract.
The deadline for Hearts to invoke their option to extend Elliott’s existing deal by a further year is looming but, so far, there have been no talks on the matter between the player and the club’s hierarchy.
Elliott is waiting to learn if he will be deemed surplus to requirements for next season along with Ian Black and Adrian Mrowiec.
Elliott, who has scored three goals in 33 appearances for the Tynecastle club this season – often in a lone striker role – signed a two-year agreement when he arrived in Edinburgh in August 2010.
That included an option allowing Hearts to extend the deal by another year to 2013 if they wished. They have yet to indicate whether they want to keep Elliott and, if they do, they must invoke the option clause before the end of the month.
Elliott would be happy to stay at Tynecastle in the event of an extension being granted. He has settled well in the Capital with his family after severing ties with Preston North End in 2010 and is content playing his football in the Scottish Premier League.
However, with Hearts implementing a heavy squad reduction plan to improve finances, the 28-year-old could be forced to consider options elsewhere.
Those would include clubs in England, where he previously played for Manchester City, Sunderland, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston and Norwich City.