Transfer update from Hearts with several players set to return from injury

Robbie Neilson admits Hearts still have work to do to secure more new signings before the transfer window closes.

Monday, 25th July 2022, 10:30 pm

Having signed six players already this summer – Alan Forrest, Kye Rowles, Lewis Neilson, Jorge Grant, Alex Cochrane and Lawrence Shankland – the Tynecastle manager still covets a creative attacker, a central midfielder and a right-sided centre-back.

Newcastle’s Elliot Anderson is one target but Neilson explained that there has been little movement on any others as he prepares his squad for domestic and European commitments.

“It’s important with the numbers of games we’re going to be playing – Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday – that we have a big squad, which means getting in and getting them out there,” said Neilson.

“The boys have bought in to the concept of not playing in every game, they know how it’s going to work. We’re still trying to bring a few more in but, to be honest, it’s a bit quiet for now.

“Some deals take time. We were about six weeks working on getting Lawrence Shankland in, but it was worth it. We’ve got a few we’re interested in but they’re still a bit away.”

Shankland scored twice on his debut in Saturday’s friendly against Stoke City, although Hearts were without Cammy Devlin, Josh Ginnelly, Lewis Neilson and Euan Henderson through various injuries. Most of them should return for Saturday’s league opener against Ross County.

“Pre-season has gone well but that means nothing unless you produce in the first league game,” stated Neilson. “The fitness levels are good – we’ve got Craig Halkett back, Natty Atkinson back and Kye Rowles up to speed, with others to come in.

Cammy Devlin is close to returning from injury for Hearts.

“Alex Cochrane did well, he’s a good player with real quality in his left foot and now that he’s here permanently we’ve got him settled up here and he can really progress at this club. Having him and Stephen Kingsley balancing on the left is good for us.

“As for the other boys, Devlin will be available [this week], Josh will be training this week and Henderson should be available too. Lewis Neilson missed out against Stoke with concussion, but he’ll be okay.

“To be honest, I don’t like pre-season. The games seem false, they’re too slow. I’d rather just turn up for the first proper game and get going.”

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