HEARTS coach Robbie Neilson hopes to sign a new midfielder this month but stressed he will not rush into any deal.
Having let left-back Kevin McHattie and striker Gary Oliver leave Tynecastle, he has no plans to recruit a defender or a striker and is looking only at midfield for now. Neilson will scour the market for a free agent who is not bound by transfer window regulations and who offers value for money. He is confident he has enough cover for Juwon Oshaniwa at left-back, hence the decision to let McHattie join Kilmarnock before the signing deadline. Similarly, Neilson is comfortable with his attacking options and was therefore happy to see Oliver move to Queen of the South.
The focal point for Hearts’ recruitment is now midfield. Kenny Anderson has been told he is surplus to requirements and, with Miguel Pallardo injured, options have been reduced in the middle of the park. Neilson explained his thoughts on the matter to the Evening News.
“I’d like to strengthen the midfield if I can because I think we could do with a wee bit more in there,” he said. “I don’t need to. It depends what’s out there. It’s not a priority but that’s the area I’m looking at. If it’s something I think will give us value for money, then we can do it. I’m not just going to go and spend money for the sake of it. It’s important we get value.”
He added that allowing McHattie and Oliver to leave was designed to let them play more regularly.
“We let those two boys go because they wanted to get extra game time. They weren’t going to get as much with us so we were happy to let them go. I don’t want to stand in players’ way. They’ve got fixed up with clubs straight away, which isn’t surprising. It means we can have a look and see what’s out there. I don’t need anyone but at the moment there are a lot of good players out of contract. I’ll make a decision about whether I want to bring one in or not. I’m not looking for a left-back or a striker. I’m quite happy with what the cover we have in those areas.
“At left-back, there’s Oshaniwa, Igor Rossi can play there, Liam Smith has played there as has Jordan McGhee. We’ve got a lot of cover in that department if need be.”
Hearts could hear the result of their appeal against Callum Paterson’s red card today. The defender was ordered off by referee Willie Collum for serious foul play against Hamilton on Saturday but Tynecastle officials lodged an appeal with the Scottish Football Association. They hope to hear the outcome this afternoon.