MORGARO GOMIS, Neil Alexander and Alim Ozturk are the three contenders for the Hearts captaincy, which will be decided next month.
Head coach Robbie Neilson will choose one of the three to succeed the departed Danny Wilson after assessing their leadership during pre-season.
Gomis, 29, was vice-captain to Wilson last season but 37-year-old Alexander is more experienced and is already a player and goalkeeping coach at Tynecastle. Ozturk is a slight outsider given his relative inexperience at the age of 22.
With Wilson having signed a three-year deal with former club Rangers after leaving Hearts of his own accord, Neilson is focused on naming a replacement captain. He is expected to do so by the middle of July, well ahead of the Scottish Premiership kick-off on August 1.
“Ozturk, Gomis and Alexander are the three that we’re looking at mainly,” he told the Evening News. “I’ll have a look at pre-season and decide from there. I’ve got an idea in my head about what I want to do. I’ll take a look at it and see where everyone is.
“There isn’t too much of a hurry. As long as it’s done a few weeks before pre-season finishes. I’d be looking to make a decision once we’re into July and we start getting to the more important friendlies. At the start, it’s just about giving boys game time. After that, we’ll be looking to name the new captain.”
Whoever is handed the armband must be well respected within the dressing room.
“It’s vital the captain has the respect of the players. That’s really important,” continued Neilson.
“It’s also important that it’s someone I can speak to and who leads on the park for me.”