Hearts target new central midfielder as Robbie Neilson pushes ahead with signing plans

Tynecastle manager wants to strengthen his team’s engine room

By Barry Anderson
Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 7:30 am
Robbie Neilson hopes to add a new midfielder to Hearts' squad.
Robbie Neilson hopes to add a new midfielder to Hearts' squad.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson plans to sign a central midfielder to strengthen the spine of his team before the new season begins.

Having already captured goalkeeper Craig Gordon, Neilson wants to bring in a midfield player and two wide men as part of his summer recruitment plan.

He returned to Tynecastle Park from Dundee United last month and has spoken with Hearts’ new football advisor Jim Jefferies about signings.

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The club’s list of midfielders already includes Peter Haring, Andy Irving, Olly Lee, Loic Damour and Harry Cochrane.

Neilson intends to add one more to that department, explaining why central defence and central midfield are key areas of his team.

“In any league in Scotland, it's important your team has a bit of strength to control that central area,” he told the Evening News.

“We have three really good centre-backs at the moment in John Souttar, Craig Halkett and Christophe Berra. We also have Peter Haring who can play centre-half so hopefully he comes back in 100 per cent fit. Michael Smith can also move in there.

“We have a number of players in central midfield, although I do think we need to recruit one more in that area. We’ve spoken about that.

“You need that base and that strength in the central area, especially if you are playing in the Championship. A lot of the game is direct with a lot of second balls to be won, so you have to dominate in there.”

Neilson revealed soon after his appointment that two creative wide players were among his priorities. He plans to start pre-season training at Riccarton on August 3.

Hearts are due to begin their Championship campaign on October 17 but are still awaiting a verdict on their legal appeal against relegation from last season’s Premiership.

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