Aaron Hughes set to extend contract with Hearts

Aaron Hughes is currently with the Northern Ireland squad
Aaron Hughes is currently with the Northern Ireland squad
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Aaron Hughes is close to extending his Hearts contract by another 12 months, the Evening News can reveal.

Initial talks with the experienced Northern Ireland defender have been positive and he is keen to stay at Tynecastle next season.

Hughes signed a six-month deal upon joining Hearts in January with the aim of reviewing his future in the summer. He has settled quickly in Edinburgh and, at 37, is already an influential figure within the dressing-room.

He is now ready to commit his future to Hearts until summer 2018. The centre-back is on international duty this week ahead of Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Norway in Belfast on Sunday. He will then return to Hearts and go straight into vital league games against Celtic, St Johnstone, Dundee and Kilmarnock.

At some point over the next few weeks, he is expected to formally put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension. “We see the value in what Aaron brings to the group on a daily basis,” said head coach Ian Cathro. “We’re really pleased with him. I would be hopeful that we could look at doing something.”

Hughes hasn’t played in any of Hearts’ past four matches due to a niggling calf injury. However, he was an unused substitute against Aberdeen last weekend and headed off to join the Northern Ireland squad at the start of the week with no fitness concerns.