JOHN SUTTON is preparing to seek a move away from Hearts during the January transfer window if he cannot convince manager Paulo Sergio that he merits a regular first-team place.
The striker has found himself completely omitted from recent match squads and is frustrated at being out of favour.
His last SPL start was back on August 13, when he scored his only two Hearts goals against Aberdeen.
Representatives of Sutton will seek talks with Tynecastle officials in the next month to clarify whether he is part of the club’s long-term plans. If not, he will attempt to negotiate an exit, either permanently or on loan, when the transfer window opens in January.
Sutton signed a three-year contract with Hearts in June of this year as the Edinburgh club fended off competition from a series of other sides north and south of the Border to sign the 27-year-old, whose existing deal had expired at Motherwell.
However, since Sergio replaced Jim Jefferies as manager, Sutton’s involvement with the first-team has been minimal.
The Portuguese manager has preferred Ryan Stevenson and Stephen Elliott in attack and often left the Englishman sitting in the stands.
Gordon Smith is also ahead of Sutton in the pecking order for first-team places, leaving him surplus to requirements and pondering his long-term future. He is keen to play and establish himself at Hearts but is doubtful whether he will be given a decent opportunity to showcase his credentials.