Robbie Neilson reveals Hearts' chances of a new signing for Zurich tie - plus Alex Cochrane and Craig Halkett injury update
Robbie Neilson is keen to add another attacker to Hearts’ squad but said he does not expect a new arrival before Thursday’s European tie against FC Zurich.
The Tynecastle manager wants to add more creativity in the final third and would also like a central midfielder before the summer transfer window closes. Interest in the South Korea internationalist Lee Seung-woo remains strong, although other options are being explored.
“The [European] squad needs to be registered by Tuesday so I don't see us getting someone in before that,” explained Neilson whilst discussing his current front four of Lawrence Shankland, Barrie McKay, Liam Boyce and Alan Forrest.
Shankland and McKay both scored in Sunday’s 4-1 Premiership win against Dundee United in Edinburgh alongside Jorge Grant and substitute Josh Ginnelly.
“They have all got good moments in them. Ginnelly came on and he has those moments,” added Neilson. “Gary Mackay-Steven is still getting up to full fitness but he also has those moments and I think it is important that we have that.
“We could do with another one, maybe two in there to give you that final moment because you need it in these games.
“I was pleased with the result. We started the game really well but I thought, in the first half, we never played anywhere near the levels we normally play at.
“We were trying to force the play, giving it away and not doing the things we’d spoke about previously. We changed it at half-time and managed to get settled in the game and do what we’re good at.”
Hearts meet Zurich in St Gallen on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League play-off. Neilson stated he wants a result to bring home for the second leg seven days later and dismissed the fact that Zurich sit bottom of the Swiss Super League.
“We want to bring something back to Tynecastle, whether that be a draw or a win or something close,” he said. “We want to come here and be able to use this atmosphere and intensity to drive us forward and push us through.
“They have real quality so we need to make sure we negate that, but we feel we have real threat in the attacking area and we believe we can go there and score.
“Zurich are still Swiss champions so we have to be respectful of that as well. They have not had a great start to the season but still have international players there so we need to make sure that we play our best game. We need to bring the second-half performance against United and not the first to give ourselves the best chance.
“I thought the first half we were pretty poor. If we do that on Thursday night we will be two or three goals down. We need to start the game better.”
Alex Cochrane was forced off with an injury and Craig Halkett went down late in the game. Neilson expects both to be ready for Switzerland, however.
“Alex will be fine. It was just a tight hamstring and we were going to get him off and get Stephen Kingsley on anyway. Halks just twisted his ankle but he will be okay for Thursday.”