Hearts in Spain: Robbie Neilson outlines plan for January transfer window

Robbie Neilson doesn’t expect many new faces to arrive at Tynecastle in the January transfer window.

The Hearts head coach believes only “one or two” will be added to the squad as the team go into the second half of the campaign with a healthy level of competition for places.

Management added to the first-time corps in the summer to try and cope with the demands of playing both domestically and in Europe. They also suffered something of an injury crisis with 11 first-team players absent at one point, most of whom are expected to return when the cinch Premiership gets back underway again after the World Cup.

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There is the possibility that interest in players – Kye Rowles, for example, who is excelling in Qatar – may ultimately force the club into being busier than they would expect, but for now Neilson is content to largely work with the group he’s got.

Robbie Neilson issues instructions to Stephen Humphrys during Hearts' winter training camp in the Costa del Sol. Picture: Contributed

“Don't think so, no,” when asked if it would be a busy January window. “It depends on what the boys do in the World Cup, eh?!

"I don't expect it to be busy, maybe one or two. We've got a good squad here and a decent sized squad for general domestic play. We built it up for Europe, though we did get a few injuries which deflated it a wee bit. By the time that comes back I don't think we'll need much.

“It makes sense with the guys coming back. Training wise we were sometimes down to 14 players, even down to 12 at times. To get that back up to the 20s is good.”

In addition to increasing competitiveness amongst the group, Neilson will also have the ability to make substitutions late in matches and rotate the players to keep them fresh without affecting the overall quality of the XI on the park.

“Even just turning to the bench, you're bringing on quality for quality,” he said. “You're sometimes bringing a player off and the level is coming down a little bit. If we get more injuries we've hopefully got most of the boys back so we can cover.”

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