HEARTS’ priority before the new SPL season begins is to sign a new striker, with manager John McGlynn acknowledging that John Sutton urgently requires back-up in the wake of Saturday’s 3-0 friendly victory over Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park.
Sutton was one of the goalscorers, with 17-year-old debutant Callum Paterson and David Templeton also scoring in a testimonial match for Raith’s Laurie Ellis.
However, McGlynn is keen to recruit a new forward with only Gordon and David Smith challenging Sutton at present.
“It’s an ongoing thing but it’s getting more and more difficult. We are working on things,” said McGlynn. “We are short in the striker department so a striker is the priority for us. We are pursuing a number of options.”
Sutton earned praise from his manager for scoring in his first match after a loan spell in Australia with Central Coast Mariners.
“I am glad to have him,” continued McGlynn. “We haven’t brought in any new players yet and John is under contract to Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Of course I’m going to use him. We are two weeks into pre-season training and he’s looked the part. He’s a big, strong lad who can lead the line.
“He can make it difficult for defenders. If you put the ball in the box he’s going to fight for it and you may get scraps off him.
“He’s going to get his fair share of goals and I thought he took his very well. You look at his CV, he’s scored goals at St Mirren and Motherwell. Okay, maybe he didn’t fit in initially (at Hearts), but he’s getting an opportunity now to go and stake a claim. He got that goal and it will do his confidence no harm whatsoever.”
Anton Peterlin, the American midfielder, is no longer on trial with Hearts. McGlynn deployed Ryan McGowan as an attacking midfielder against Raith and hinted that he play there in future.
“Obviously you have to try these things,” he said. “We are kind of short on strikers so, playing with John Sutton up there, you need someone to get in touch with him. That was the ploy, we got Ryan to make runs for him.
“Jamie Hamill is out with a cruciate ligament injury and won’t be back till November. Ryan McGowan played at right-back towards the end of last season but he’s got great energy levels and is a big plus for us pushing on from the middle of the park.
“Danny Grainger had an
operation over the summer and isn’t ready to play yet. He’s also suspended for the first game of the season against St Johnstone, so it’s a great opportunity for Kevin McHattie to go in there and stake a claim for the left-back jersey. It’s up to him to keep it.”