Ian Cathro has been working diligently to learn every detail possible about his Hearts players over the past fortnight as he assesses where the squad requires strengthening during next month’s transfer window.
The 30-year-old succeeded Robbie Neilson as head coach two weeks ago and has been busy running the rule over his charges while also assessing the transfer market to establish what options may be available.
Talks are set to take place at Riccarton in the coming days as management streamline their plans for the January window, which opens in 12 days’ time.
“I’m learning massively about the players every day I work with them,” Cathro told the Evening News. “There’s a lot to learn about individuals, and individual details. I’ve got to make sure I process that quickly and work to improve the team.
“We have an idea of how we would like to evolve the squad. Over the next few days we need to continue assessing what options may be available to us. We’re still a wee bit away from starting any real activity on that front, but we have a clearer direction on where we would be looking to add.”
Cathro was unwilling to put a figure on the likely number of January recruits. Hearts are expected to be in the market for a creative player, with Sam Nicholson set to remain sidelined by injury for another six weeks, while a new right-back may be required if the club decide to cash in on Callum Paterson in January. It emerged yesterday that Cardiff City have joined the hunt for the Scotland right-back, but a January departure would be dependent on whether any of his suitors are willing to offer significantly more than the 360,000 Euros (circa £300,000) compensation Hearts will be due if he leaves under freedom of contract in the summer.
“We don’t know exactly how many will be coming in yet,” said Cathro. “A lot of the time that’s dependent on the market and what’s available. If there are a high number of options available to improve the squad and we can do those things, then we’ll do a lot. If there’s not, then we won’t.”