Gary Locke wants to sign seven new to Hearts

Hearts manager Gary Locke.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Hearts manager Gary Locke. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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HEARTS manager Gary Locke wants six to seven new signings during the January transfer window, provided his club emerges from administration in time. Hearts are banned from recruiting anyone whilst in administration, and thereafter can only sign under-21 players until February 1, 2014.

Locke is eager to supplement his squad, which is currently one of the youngest ever first-team pools in Hearts’ history. He aims to bring in around half a dozen under-21s if possible during January as Hearts battle to stay in the Scottish Premiership after incurring a 15-point deduction for entering administration in June.

“For me, we need a good six or seven players,” Locke told the Evening News. “Even if we can strengthen a little bit, it would make all the difference. I’m not making any excuses but the squad is threadbare and we do need to add bodies. Who knows [whether it will be possible]? We would obviously have to look at the finances but the wage bill has been slashed. It’s down to the lowest it’s been for many a year so I’m hoping we can get the scope to bring in a few players. Obviously, that will all depend on what happens with administration.”

Hearts’ numbers are boosted somewhat for this weekend’s encounter with Celtic. Both Danny Wilson and Kevin McHattie return after serving one-match suspensions against Inverness, whilst Jamie Hamill is free to play after his red card in the Highlands was rescinded on appeal. “To have those three back will be a huge boost for us,” added Locke.