ROBBIE NEILSON today urged the Hearts supporters to remain patient as he steps up his search for new players ahead of next season’s return to the top flight.
The Jambos secured their place in the Premiership at the first time of asking by clinching the Championship title last month. However, the Tynecastle squad is certain to take on a different look next term.
Skipper Danny Wilson will activate a clause in his contract which allows him to leave for free while left-back Adam Eckerlsey won’t be getting a new deal. Striker James Keatings, scorer of 11 league goals this season and under contract for another year, has been told he is free to find a new club.
But, as supporters become increasingly keen to discover who might be lining up in a maroon jersey next season, head coach Neilson has warned those fans that it will take time to assemble a squad capable of competing in Scotland’s top division.
“There are still players out there fighting for league titles or finding out where the team is going to finish which affects budgets at clubs for next season,” Neilson told the Evening News.
“Players will become available within the next month or so when everything is done and dusted.
“But the English market and European market doesn’t open up until these leagues are finished so I don’t really expect a lot to happen until after then, to be honest.
“I’ve spoken before that we’re looking for strikers and a left-back as well so these are the areas we are interested in strengthening. If we can get one in the next couple of weeks then fine, but we’ve got a lot of time to prepare.”
Neilson did confirm talks with Spanish midfielder Miguel Pallardo’s agent Clive Jagger progressed well over the weekend and he is hopeful the 28-year-old, whose current deal expires at the end of the season, will put pen to paper on a new contract at some point this week.
“We’re still in the process of negotiating but I don’t think we’re far away,” Neilson said. “He’s happy, we’re happy so it’s a case of trying to get things tied up.
“There are just a couple of things we need to get sorted but we’re close.
“I’m happy so it’s my job to try and get the best players in within the budget we have set. We’re not going to go into the Premiership and overspend like we have in the past so we have to make sure we cut our cloth accordingly.