Csaba Laszlo admits he'd be irked if Wallace was sold by Hearts

CSABA Laszlo said yesterday he would be "not very happy" if Lee Wallace were to leave Hearts this month, but accepted the matter was out of his hands.

Having just agreed a pre-contract with Falkirk defender Darren Barr, Laszlo still hopes to sign a striker before the transfer window closes, and again insisted he had heard nothing about possible moves out of Tynecastle. With Danny Fox appearing to be on the way out of Parkhead, however, a bid for Wallace from Celtic is looking increasingly likely.

"I saw Celtic have money," Laszlo said when asked about the possible loss of his left-back. "Everybody has a price, but the decision must come from the board, from the player. If Lee Wallace moves I am not very happy about this. He is a very important piece of this squad and he has a very good improvement. I plan for the matches against Aberdeen (tonight] and St Johnstone (on Saturday] with Lee Wallace."

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Laszlo actually began his answer by saying he had heard nothing about Rangers' interest in Wallace – whether by mistake or as an attempted evasion was unclear. His willingness to then discuss Celtic's situation at least gave the impression he was aware of a potential bid, as did his reminder of how quickly club captain Christophe Berra's move to Wolves went through around this time last year. "Last season in the last minute with Christophe Berra (shows] you are never safe," he said. "It can always happen. He had the price and they paid this and he moved."

Jose Goncalves is another member of the Hearts defence who could be on his way out of the club this year, but Laszlo would not accept that Barr should be seen as a straight replacement for him. Instead, the manager argued that Barr's decision to join Hearts rather than Hibs or Aberdeen was a positive sign to out-of-contract players such as Goncalves of the club's intentions.

"He has made a good choice," Laszlo said of Barr. "I think we have a good name for young and promising players who would like to make a step forward. Goncalves and Michael Stewart like to know we can build for the future. Darren is more for central defence, but he can also play on the left or right side. He is a very good captain in a difficult situation. His positive mentality impressed me. He is very close to the national team and he's coming to the best age."

Laszlo refused to rule out making Barr captain for next season, but did imply that any new recruit would have to prove his worth before being given such an honour. "If a new player comes here he must show he can be a leader. You cannot force somebody to show this ability. (But] I don't see a problem with making a new player captain."

Hearts meet Aberdeen this evening hoping for a more positive performance than they managed in the Scottish Cup at Pittodrie earlier this month, when they lost 2-0. Goncalves and Andrew Driver have resumed full training following injury, but the former is the more likely to be included in Laszlo's squad.

Christian Nade, by contrast, will be fortunate to be given another chance after incurring the manager's wrath by being sent off at Ibrox at the weekend. The scathing manner in which he spoke of Nade makes it even less likely that Hearts will want to keep the player beyond the expiry of his contract this summer.

"We handle the situation internally," he said. "We must talk and punish financially, but we must go a little deeper and say why we cannot accept this. There is an SFA meeting in this direction today and our club will again pay a lot of money. We cannot give the money for nothing – we need it for other things. For this I am very angry."