Kyle Lafferty a major part of Hearts’ plans despite striker influx

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Craig Levein admits Hearts desperately needed more strikers after being left short last season, but the manager reiterated that Kyle Lafferty remains very much a Tynecastle player.

Steven MacLean and Uche Ikpeazu are new attacking recruits ahead of the new campaign after Levein made reinforcing his forward line a priority.

Kyle Lafferty scored 19 goals for Hearts last season

Kyle Lafferty scored 19 goals for Hearts last season

Lafferty, last season’s top goalscorer with 19 goals, has been attracting interest from other clubs. Levein stressed he has received no offers for the Northern Irishman, who is contracted until summer 2019.

The giant Czech forward David Vanecek is also on Hearts’ radar. He is out of contract at Czech club Teplice in December and can discuss a pre-contract agreement with other teams as of next month.

After spending the second half of last season with only Lafferty and on-loan Steven Naismith to choose from up front, Levein is content having bulked up his attacking options.

“I had palpitations looking at the bench last season and not having any strikers, so I’m determined to beef that up,” he told the Evening News.

“The forwards we have signed are all different and I’m pleased with what we’ve got. I just want to make sure there is more competition for places in the forward areas. We haven’t had any offers for Kyle.”

The Hearts players are due to report to Riccarton to start pre-season training on the 21st of the month. They begin competitive matches in the Betfred Cup on Wednesday, July 18, away to Cove Rangers.