New Hearts signings handed an early mission as one key transfer window objective set amid busy summer

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A former Hearts star has reviewed the summer so far at Tynecastle.

A Hearts hero has hopes that the new Tynecastle recruits can come in and hit the ground running - with keeping Lawrence Shankland named a key summer mission.

Ryan Stevenson has been watching closely as head coach Steven Naismith makes alterations to his squad. Costa Rican right-back Gerald Taylor is set to be the seventh new arrival of the summer while Hearts will listen to offers for defensive duo Toby Sibbick and Nathaniel Atkinson.

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The former Tynecastle forward has applauded the work of Joe Savage during his time as sporting director and the backroom team for what he feels is flawless recruitment of late. Now the goal shifts to keeping their talisman and getting the new signings firing immediately ahead of Premiership action and European qualifiers.

Stevenson said: “When it comes to signings over the last couple of seasons, Joe Savage and the backroom staff have pretty much got every signing bang on. I hope the ones myself and the fans don’t know much about can come in and hit the ground running. Hopefully everybody can gel well and mix well during pre-season.

“It is always good for the players that have been there that these new boys come in and freshen things up. When you go away for pre-season it is difficult. I have been there when one boy comes in and then in two weeks another boy comes in.

“It can be unsettling so it’s good the majority of the players are there. Hopefully we don’t lose one player and it’s the only player we don’t want to lose just now, it is Lawrence. Hopefully the new boys come in, he stays and we go on and have another successful season.

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Stevenson has also called on other attack-minded stars at Hearts to ease the load on Shankland. The striker netted 31 times last season but the former forward reckons the onus is on the other attackers to help take a piece of the goalscoring burden off him.

He added on the BBC Scottish Football Podcast: Hearts need to get away from us relying on Lawrence as much as we do, for everyone's sake.

“We need to sign other players and the likes of Alan Forrest, Kenneth Vargas and Barry McKay need to step up and help Lawrence in such a big season for the club. We need to get away from being this team that just centres around Lawrence.

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