Hearts prioritising wide players in recruitment drive

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro
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Hearts want two full-backs, a new midfielder and another forward ahead of next season. Management are prioritising wide areas after the arrivals of defender Christophe Berra and striker Cole Stockton.

Tynecastle officials submitted a loan offer for Manchester City left-back Ashley Smith-Brown last week. Head coach Ian Cathro acknowledges that he still requires a right-back, whilst a new midfielder is also high on the agenda.

Another striker remains a possibility to compete with Stockton and Esmael Goncalves. Gavin Reilly yesterday left Hearts to sign a one-year deal with St Mirren after being told he was surplus to requirements.

More incomings will, of course, depend on sourcing the right players at the right price as Cathro strives to reinforce his depleted squad. Full-back Callum Paterson joined Cardiff City last week, while winger Sam Nicholson is leaving on freedom of contract. Another winger, Jamie Walker, could be sold after declaring he won’t sign a new deal when his existing one expires next summer.

Full-backs Andraz Struna and Lennard Sowah have gone, left winger Moha Choulay has returned to parent club Stoke City, while Alex Tziolis, Tasos Avlonitis and Dylan Bikey have also moved on.

Cathro explained that he is in the market for players in wide areas. “That’s fair comment. The wide areas are positions we’re focused on because we know that’s what we need. Our work will continue,” he told the Evening News, although he is reluctant to pinpoint the exact number of new recruits required.

“I’m not obsessed by what number of players we bring in. We are missing a couple of things to give us the right balance across the squad.

“We’ve got some work to do and we certainly intend on doing more business.

“These things can move quickly for a while and then slow down, so you’ve just got to manage it and keep working quietly and professionally.”

Berra returned to Gorgie on a three-year deal last month, followed by Stockton on a two-year contract. Hearts are now keen to conclude the loan signing of 21-year-old Smith-Brown for next season.