Kyle Lafferty snubs Hearts return as Daniel Stendel gets set to appoint Hannover 96 coach as his No.2

Kyle Lafferty looks set to continue his career abroad, ruling out a return to Hearts in the current transfer window.

The striker is a free agent after the end of a short-term spell with Norwegian side Sarpsborg 08.

Lafferty was a success at a team who were last in the Eliteserien, the country’s top flight, when he joined in August, after being released by Rangers.

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He helped them avoid relegation by finishing 11th and with the season now over in Norway, the 32-year-old is looking for another club.

Kyle Lafferty won't be returning to Hearts after leaving Sarpsborg. Picture: SNS.Kyle Lafferty won't be returning to Hearts after leaving Sarpsborg. Picture: SNS.
Kyle Lafferty won't be returning to Hearts after leaving Sarpsborg. Picture: SNS.

Reports linked him with a return to Hearts, where he scored 19 goals, including a winner over Celtic, during a 13- month stay prior to returning to Ibrox in August 2018.

His Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, suggested a move back to Scotland could be on the cards for the player in an interview in November but also wondered if clubs would have the financial wherewithal to offer him a deal.

It is now understood Lafferty’s itinerant career will continue elsewhere after successful spells in Switzerland, Italy, Turkey and now Norway.

Meanwhile, Hearts are preparing to appoint the Hannover 96 coach Jorg Sievers as manager Daniel Stendel’s assistant.

Both men have been in Germany and were due to land in Edinburgh yesterday for Sievers to sign paperwork and become second in command at Tynecastle Park.

Terms have already been discussed with the 54-year-old, who is leaving his post as Hannover’s goalkeeping coach to join Stendel.

The pair played and coached together at the German club and are now ready to reunite to help Hearts’ relegation fight.

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Sievers knows Stendel’s footballing philosophy well and is an advocate of the manager’s high-pressing tactics.

As a native German speaker with a strong command of English, he will also be on hand to help with any linguistic issues which may arise.

Stendel had been keen to bring his assistants at Barnsley, Chris Stern and Dale Tonge, to Hearts but Tynecastle officials are wary of contractual issues lingering between those two and the English Championship club.

Stern and Tonge were both shown round Riccarton and Tynecastle last month, however Stendel has opted to recruit a close confidant from his homeland.

The Hearts reserve coach Andy Kirk stepped up to help out at first-team level when Stendel was named manager last month but the agreement was always that the German would hire his own assistant.

Jon Daly agreed to part company with Hearts on New Year’s Day and created an opening for Sievers to join the coaching staff.