Agreement being finalised to appoint German coach
Hearts hope to have their prospective new manager Daniel Stendel in the Tynecastle Park directors' box tomorrow night against Livingston.
An agreement with the 45-year-old German is now extremely close and, barring any unexpected late hitches, should be confirmed in the next 48 hours.
The Evening News revealed yesterday how the Hearts owner Ann Budge was making a final push to secure her preferred candidate to replace Craig Levein.
Those efforts have proved fruitful and the club are now preparing to finalise Stendel's appointment, although interim manager Austin MacPhee is expected to remain in charge of the team tomorrow.
Stendel wants to bring two assistant coaches with him to Edinburgh, Chris Stern and Dale Tonge, who worked with him at former club Barnsley. Both men left Oakwell last month after Stendel was sacked in October.
The former Hannover coach would likely take control of Hearts for the first time on Saturday against Motherwell at Fir Park. He will get the chance to assess his new side against Livingston and is expected to meet the players later this week once his appointment is ratified.
He has already been shown round Tynecastle Park and the club's Riccarton training base and is acutely aware of the difficult predicament Hearts find themselves in.
They are currently joint-bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership following Sunday's 5-0 defeat by Rangers at Ibrox. The new man's main role will be galvanise the squad and start winning points as quickly as possible to steer the club away from the relegation zone.
Stendel is able to join a new club after being relieved of his duties at Barnsley and agreeing to exit his contract, which was due to run until next summer. However, he has yet to receive a pay-off from the English Championship club, who are arguing that the contract is still valid.
Both parties are in dispute over a severance package and the Barnsley chief executive Paul Conway has contacted Hearts seeking compensation for Stendel.
"We still have a valid contract with Daniel Stendel until the end of the season," claimed Conway. "There is already a tampering issue with us concerning his existing contract. And if anybody else is tampering with our rights, we are going to expect compensation.
"Hearts have our letter and we have notified them and, if they want to hire Daniel, that's fine, that's their choice. But they either pay us now or we will file a claim against them. And if any club wants to fight it, we will win."
Others who were interviewed for the manager's role by Hearts include Stuart McCall, Steve Cotterill, Alan Irvine and Neil McCann, but the German is now likely to land the job.