Craig Levein ‘trying hardest’ to sign new striker for Hearts

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Craig Levein has prioritised signing a new striker before Hearts’ Scottish Cup tie against Hibs on Sunday.

Talks continue regarding the Scotland internationalist Steven Naismith, but the move for Dutchman Leon de Kogel has stalled as he has failed to agree terms with the Tynecastle club after visiting Edinburgh last week. The deal is not totally dead but Hearts are looking at other options as they race to strengthen their attack for the Edinburgh derby.

Hearts manager Craig Levein is eager to sign a striker before Sunday. Picture: SNS.

Hearts manager Craig Levein is eager to sign a striker before Sunday. Picture: SNS.

A new left-back was Levein’s main target this month but the loan signing of Demetri Mitchell from Manchester United completed that task last week. The Tynecastle management team have turned their attention to forwards, mindful that Kyle Lafferty can’t face Hibs due to suspension.

“I want to make sure we have at least one more player in before the derby,” said Levein, below. “That is not always within my control but we are trying our hardest. With Kyle suspended, anyone coming in is more than likely to be involved because of that.”

Naismith is available for a permanent transfer or loan before the end of the month having fallen out of favour at Norwich City. Hearts are one of several clubs to enquire about him.

Kilmarnock are also interested but Rangers’ loan capture of Jason Cummings would appear to end any chance of Naismith moving to Ibrox. The 31-year-old forward scored twice and claimed an assist for Norwich Under-23s against Newcastle United on Sunday.

“Steven Naismith made it clear he is going to search for another club, another challenge. It could be in the next two weeks there is a solution. Not yet,” said the Norwich head coach Daniel Farke. “I would have no problems to go further on with him but we have given him this space to search for something else. It could be there is a solution. If not, he will be here.”

Hearts have shown an interest in the Dundee United midfielder Scott Fraser but are waiting to see how and when he recovers from injury. A fractured foot has sidelined him until the end of the season, when his contract at Tannadice expires.