Young Hearts defender Conrad Balatoni is being lined up for a permanent move to Partick Thistle.
Jags boss Jackie McNamara is preparing a swoop for Leeds-born Balatoni, should the player be freed early from a contract that expires at the end of the season.
The 20-year-old, whose loan spell at Firhill ends next month, was one of a group of players – including Janos Balogh, Jason Thomson and Calum Elliot – told this week that their services were no longer required at Hearts.
“Conrad’s contract at Hearts is up in the summer,” said McNamara. “His loan deal ends here in a month and we are keen to keep him beyond that.
“We really need to see what happens with Hearts but I would like to keep him at Thistle.”
Balatoni has not made a single first-team appearance for the Jambos, He is now in his second loan spell at Thistle and has played more than 30 games in the First Division.
The scorer of the opening goal during a 2-1 victory over Livingston last week, Balatoni’s rate of improvement has impressed McNamara.
“Conrad is still learning but I like what I see in him,” said McNamara. “He is a very good player and is learning from the mistakes he made earlier inthe season. In the last couple of matches he has been excellent.”