Early return to pre-season for Hearts

Ian Cathro
Ian Cathro
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Hearts players will return to Riccarton on Friday, June 16, to begin pre-season training – and could be joined by more new signings following the capture of Cole Stockton.

The Englishman has agreed a two-year contract and is expected to start training with his new team-mates on the 16th. Tranmere Rovers must first give their blessing as he is officially under contract there until the end of the month.

Stockton and Christophe Berra are Hearts’ first two signings of the summer and several more are due to follow as head coach Ian Cathro replenishes his squad.

Cathro will gather his players together a full four weeks before competitive matches start in the Betfred League Cup. He will take them to Dublin and then Belfast from July 3 until July 9 for a pre-season trip, which includes a friendly against Linfield.

By then, several other new faces could be in place. Amongst Hearts targets are two new full-backs, plus a wide player and another midfielder.

Six players left last month - Alex Tziolis, Andraz Struna, Tasos Avlonitis, Lennard Sowah, Dylan Bikey and Moha Choulay - with Callum Paterson and Sam Nicholson due to follow on freedom of contract this summer.

Winger Jamie Walker has refused the offer of a new deal and could be sold, although his existing agreement does not expire for another 12 months.