The Jam Tarts have just three additions so far this summer window and two of them, goalkeeper Ross Stewart and winger Josh Ginnelly, were already on loan at the club last season, leaving young defender Alex Cochrane as the only new face.
Saturday’s 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat to Sunderland, where Hearts played some nice football but couldn’t convert a number of promising opportunities into goals, further stressed the need for reinforcements to arrive.
Neilson knows that’s precisely what needs to happen. He just asks for a bit of patience as they look to overcome the difficulties of this particular summer.
“We’re all in the same boat,” he said. “As a manager you want all your players in the door the first day of pre-season. Realistically, though, it never happens.
"You’re always aiming for the best player but sometimes he has a few other clubs after him so you’re waiting for him to make a decision, or for his club to let him go.
“We’re working at it. We know the areas we need to strength. We’ve got three targets that we’re aiming for and we’re trying to get them done, but it might take a bit of time.
“This window where everything is going on, not just Covid but the Euros, teams are keeping hold of players longer.
“We’re a good team now, but if we get the players we want we can do very well.”
The silver lining is that it gives Neilson the chance to give more youngsters experience during friendlies and Premier Sports Cup games before the season starts as he remains committed to supplementing the first-team with this new batch of academy graduates coming through.
“I thought they all did really well. Finlay [Pollock] got another start, which is really important for him. I thought he did well with his energy. I thought Scott McGill coming on, playing on the right of the three, where he’s never played before, looked very comfortable. I was very impressed with him, Connor Smith, Leo Watson and Aidan Denholm.”