Hearts plans explained after loan window is extended

Hearts will continue monitoring the market for right-backs after Scotland’s loan window was extended for lower-league clubs.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:00 am
Hearts may yet decide to use the extended loan window this month.

Tynecastle officials are in no rush to sign another defender as the calf injury suffered by Michael Smith at Inverness on Friday is not thought to be serious.

He is expected to resume training on Thursday and could play against Dundee this weekend. Nonetheless, team management are encouraged that they can sign a deputy at any point until the end of this month if they wish.

The Scottish Professional Football League decided to extend the loan window to the end of March for Championship, League One and League Two clubs in anticipation of the lower leagues resuming.

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The Championship is due to finish at the end of April and Hearts intend to keep their options open regarding cover for Smith.

“It does help. It means we can still have a look to see what's out there,” manager Robbie Neilson told the Evening News. “It gives us another month, although the season is finished at the end of next month. We will just see what's there if we need anything.

“Michael is the number one right-back at the moment so we would really only be looking if there was an issue with his injury. It looks like it's just a wee niggle and he should be fine, so it's not something we're pressing to do. If we need to do something, we can.

“It's important that we keep ourselves strong enough to be winning games and finish the season well. I think that's really important to build that momentum into next year.”

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