Hearts plan to sign new winger with Josh Ginnelly out for rest of the season
Ginnelly will have surgery on the problem next week but is looking at around three months on the sidelines.
His loan deal expires at the end of the campaign, as does his Preston contract, and Hearts recently opened talks about signing him permanently.
His latest injury is a significant blow to the Edinburgh club, who will now enter the market for replacement.
“Josh is going to be out for the rest of the season. He has ruptured his hamstring and he’ll be operated on next week,” manager Robbie Neilson told the Evening News..
“It’s a blow for us and him. He’s been doing really well for us and he’s a great kid as well. It’s our job to get him back fit as soon as we can. Will be get him back by the end of the season? It's going to be a push.
“We’ll just need to see but we will try to help him through this and deal with the disappointment.”
Hearts intend to sign another three players before the January transfer window closes. As well as a winger to replace Ginnelly, Neilson covets a central midfielder and a deputy right-back.
“We’re looking to bring two or potentially three in if we can,” he added. “It’s important we keep building and giving ourselves options in all areas of the pitch.
“With Ginnelly out, we need to try and recruit in the wide area. So we’re looking for another winger, plus a central midfielder, and someone to come in and compete with Michael Smith at right-back.
“Jamie Brandon is out with a cruciate so we need a little bit of cover in there.”
Hearts have signed winger Gary Mackay-Steven and striker Armand Gnanduillet since the winter window opened.
They face a race against time to get another three deals done before Monday night’s deadline, although Neilson and sporting director Joe Savage already have a list of targets drawn up.