SEVERAL Scottish Premier League clubs, including Hibs, have enquired about Hearts striker John Sutton although Tynecastle officials have stressed that the player could still play a major part in their season.
Sutton has been told he can leave on loan but several SPL teams, including St Mirren and St Johnstone have had no joy with loan enquiries. Hibs have contacted the player’s representative but have not submitted a formal loan offer, and Kilmarnock and Inverness have also enquired about his services.
Hearts are unlikely to let Sutton join a rival SPL club unless a fee is received for his permanent transfer. Any loan move would most likely be to England – where Preston North End are interested – with most SPL clubs unable to afford his £2500-a-week salary.
However, with only Stephen Elliott and Sutton as established strikers, Hearts believe Sutton can still play a major part this season. They will only let him leave for a deal that suits them and have stressed there is no rush to force him out of Tynecastle.
Danny Lennon, the St Mirren manager, explained his frustrations at trying to lure Sutton back to Paisley. “Up front is an area that I would like to try to add to, to see if it will improve us,” he said. “We need more competition there and if the right one comes along I’d like to do some business.
“There are loan deals that have been mentioned and John Sutton is one. We have a wage cap and we only spend what we can afford. I know what we have left in the budget.
“An offer has been made to Hearts, but they are difficult to deal with. I’m actively looking elsewhere.”
Hearts have had no contact with Ayr United over midfielder Ryan Stevenson, who remains in exile.
Club director Sergejus Fedotovas has told the squad that their wages should arrive on time on Monday, although there is the possibility of a 24-hour delay.
“I don’t know if it is going to be one or two days late or one or two days before – we will have to wait and see,” said manager Paulo Sergio.
“The message is still positive. In this moment, we are with our wages on time, so I think it is a good moment to have a break in this kind of talk.
“He [Fedotovas] brought us a positive message, but I was positive before.”
Meanwhile, Hearts’ William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round match with St Johnstone has been moved to Sunday, February 5, with a 2:15pm kick-off.
It is one of three prestigious ties which will be broadcast live on television that weekend.