Hearts: Alternative signing targets, Callum Paterson latest, plus praise for the Gorgie Ultras

With January’s transfer window ticking towards closure, Hearts are prepared to move for alternative signing targets if they can’t agree a deal for Sheffield Wednesday’s Callum Paterson.

Two offers from Tynecastle Park have been lodged with the English League One club without any being accepted. Hearts are content to wait until the final few days of the window but other potential recruits are on their list in case Wednesday hold firm. Paterson has started four of their last six matches.

“He is obviously a Sheffield Wednesday player and has come back into their team, so things have changed a bit in the last few weeks,” said Robbie Neilson, the Hearts manager. “We would love to get him in but we need to wait and see what they say.

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“We have a couple of targets on the backburner that we are looking at the moment. It's just really the timing of both. We will need to make a decision pretty soon on which one we go for because we don't want it to drag on.”

Neilson is preparing his squad for Sunday’s Scottish Cup fourth round tie against Hibs knowing he must watch from the Easter Road stand due to a touchline suspension. He stressed he will continue to show passion in the technical area and does not need to tone it down.

“No, I don't think so. I think there's a balance you need to have between the two. You need to have some passion. It means a lot to everyone, the football club and the fans and the manager as well. If you just sit there and don't move at all, either you don't have the passion for it or you aren't showing it.”

He joked about sitting in the away end instead of the directors’ box. “You can’t be in the dressing room before it or at half-time but other than that the preparation is exactly the same. On matchday it’s about preparing the players to go out there and perform. I’ve no idea where I’ll sit. Hopefully in the Hearts end, that would be decent.”

Centre-back Toby Sibbick trained after suffering cramp during Wednesday’s 5-0 win against Aberdeen. Hearts expected midfielder Andy Halliday to be available this weekend after concussion but that situation has changed in the last 24 hours. “Sibbick is fine. He trained today. The only one who will miss out is Andy Halliday. Other than that they are all good,” reported Neilson.

Hearts must wait to learn whether they can sign Callum Paterson from Sheffield Wednesday this month.

Around 3,800 Hearts fans will attend the cup derby and Neilson spoke enthusiastically about the recently-formed Gorgie Ultras group. “I think the Ultras are great. They bring a bit of energy to the stadium and a bit of noise, which is brilliant,” he said. “The club have embraced it and I think it's the way forward for us. The fanbase want to win games, that's the important thing, and they want to be entertained.

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“So far we have scored more goals than last year, although we have conceded more. We kept a couple of clean sheets recently with a bit more solidity in defence. The fans have always been outstanding in the times I've been here.

“From speaking to a lot of fans, they want to go again in Europe. We realise that, as a club and a football department, we need to perform for them to go again. They are helping us and hopefully we can help them get their trips out in Europe again.”