Hearts target more signings with Liam Boyce not fully fit as Nathaniel Atkinson set for debut against St Johnstone

Hearts are working on more new signings as their latest recruit, Nathaniel Atkinson, prepares for a debut against St Johnstone.

Monday, 17th January 2022, 10:30 pm

Top goalscorer Liam Boyce is likely only to make the substitutes’ bench due to an ongoing calf complaint, but Atkinson should be involved at some stage as Hearts resume their Premiership campaign.

Manager Robbie Neilson and sporting director Joe Savage want a new forward to help Boyce for the second half of the season. Atkinson, brought in from Melbourne City, will compete with Michael Smith in the right-back department.

“We're still trying to get a couple in,” said Neilson. “As we all know, January is a difficult window to get them in but we're working away. Joe, the recruitment staff and myself have got some targets and we're still trying.

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Hearts striker Liam Boyce is not yet fully fit after a calf problem.

“It's the same strategy we had in the summer. We’ve got a head of recruitment, head of recruitment analysis, Joe and myself looking at it. It's a case of players coming in, filtering it through, picking the right ones.

“We recruited well in the summer. It's important whoever comes in takes the club a step forward. We brought Nathaniel in who we believe will take us forward. We hope the next one or two if we can get them in can take us forward.”

Asked if Atkinson will play against St Johnstone on Tuesday night at Tynecastle, Neilson replied: “Yeah, he will. He's a top player. Michael's done well there. Taylor Moore's done well there. He's going to add to to that. Whether he starts or not we will have to wait and see.”

Boyce won’t be risked from the start. “He's not quite fully fit. He'll be on the bench. The view to Boycie is that he'll be on the bench and get him ready for the game on Saturday,” confirmed Neilson, who is unsure what to expect from the visitors.

“A wee bit of the unknown. They've obviously brought in [Nadir] Ciftci, [Dan] Cleary and [Tony] Gallacher. [Craig] Bryson is out which changes it a wee bit.

“From the five games before the break I’d expect it to be completely different. Will they play the same style as in shape? I don't really know so we've done most of our focus on ourselves with a little bit of work on them.”

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