Craig Levein explains why he's not planning for Hearts signings in January

Hearts manager Craig Levein does not plan to strengthen his squad in January aside from the arrival of Czech striker David Vanecek.

Levein sees no need to add new recruits after signing 18 players between May and September this year. He is waiting on influential figures Steven Naismith, John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu recovering from injury to boost his squad over the winter.

Vanecek signed a pre-contract agreement with Hearts in July and officially joins from FK Teplice on January 1. He is expected to be the only incoming player at Tynecastle Park during the forthcoming transfer window. Levein also wants to extend Burnley defender Jimmy Dunne’s loan agreement to keep him until the end of the season.

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“When we’ve got everybody fit, I don’t need anybody else,” Levein told the Evening News. “Vanecek will be ready to go after the winter break and that will help until Uche comes back.

Craig Levein is happy with his Hearts squad. Pic: SNSCraig Levein is happy with his Hearts squad. Pic: SNS
Craig Levein is happy with his Hearts squad. Pic: SNS

“We’ll have Naisy back by then as well so things are starting to look a bit better on the injury front. I don’t think I need anyone else in January.”

Hearts travel to Livingston on Friday night with a warning from their manager about set-piece danger. Alan Lithgow’s long throws are a major part of the West Lothian club’s armour, allied to an energetic playing style and a robust back line.

Goalkeeper Liam Kelly has drawn plaudits after recording shutouts against Celtic, Hearts and Rangers already this season. Levein has ordered his players to be wary.

“Livingston are a threat from long throw-ins as they’ve shown this season,” he said. “They also have accurate deliveries from corners and free-kicks.

“They have done very well. They defend as a team and that’s why they don’t concede many goals. This is maybe a fixture some of our supporters would have looked at a few months ago and thought we should just pick up three points, but Livingston have proven it isn’t easy going there.”