Liam Smith is close to agreeing a new contract with Hearts.
The homegrown right-back’s current deal expires next summer, but that is likely to be extended to summer 2019.
Smith is set to go out on loan later this month, with several clubs monitoring his situation, but Hearts see plenty promise in the level-headed 21-year-old and are keen to give him every chance to make the grade at Tynecastle.
Smith has been competing with international-calibre right-backs Callum Paterson and Andraz Struna since breaking into the first team over the last two years and has often found himself filling in at left-back when required.
With another internationalist, Michael Smith, having arrived at Tynecastle this summer to fill the right-back berth, the Scotland Under-21 cap knows his opportunities in his favoured position are likely to be limited once more in the coming months. St Mirren and Inverness Caledonian Thistle are among the clubs to have been credited with an interest in taking him on loan.
Smith has missed much of pre-season through injury but returned to action when he started the development team in Tuesday night’s friendly against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.