HEARTS boss John McGlynn will continue scouting under-21 players in England to reinforce his squad and said the close relationship forged with Liverpool this season will remain in place.
The Tynecastle management see England’s under-21 leagues as a good source of talent having loaned Danny Wilson and Michael Ngoo from Liverpool during the January transfer window. McGlynn revealed that he and director of football John Murray plan to keep attending under-21 matches and developing relationships with clubs south of the Border.
An unofficial link with Liverpool is in place following the Europa League play-off between the clubs in August and McGlynn is eager to exploit that relationship further in future. He stressed, however, that promoting and developing their own academy players remains Hearts’ priority. The Edinburgh club are still operating under signing restrictions imposed by the Scottish Premier League and can only bring in under-21 players. McGlynn explained that he would continue scouting at that level even if the restrictions are removed at the end of the season.
“We were extremely pleased to get the two players in from Liverpool. They are two very good guys as well,” he told the Evening News. “The relationship we have with Liverpool is excellent, they’ve been very helpful and co-operative. We’ve got to thank Brendan Rodgers and everyone there for allowing the lads to come up here.
“We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve got this kind of relationship. There’s nothing in writing or anything like that, but we’ve asked them for players and they’ve been very accommodating. We’re thankful to them for that and hopefully it’s going to help these players being at Hearts.
“We are down in England watching games all the time, not only watching players but building relationships down there. We’re hoping to tap into many football clubs because there is a lot of talent playing in the under-21 leagues down there.”
The anticipated January fire-sale at Tynecastle failed to materialise, with no notable departures on transfer-deadline day yesterday. It means that the only first-team players to exit throughout January were goalkeeper Peter Enckelman and defender Ryan McGowan. They were replaced in the squad by Ngoo and Wilson, who arrived on loan, but there were no further additions yesterday.
The most eye-catching activity of a quiet deadline day in Gorgie saw youngsters Jack Hamilton, Dale Carrick and Kevin McHattie sign contract extensions. Goalkeeper Hamilton and Carrick have been tied up until 2014, while McHattie has agreed a new deal until 2015.
Meanwhile, young striker David Smith will remain at First Division Raith Rovers for another month after extending his loan deal.