Hearts manager Craig Levein admits he is still hoping to recruit another striker and midfielder before the closure of January’s transfer window on Wednesday night.
The former Scotland manager is also planning to keep his current first team intact amid persistent speculation surrounding Northern Ireland forward Kyle Lafferty’s future, insisting that it would an ‘offer we can’t refuse’ to persuade the club to part with the 30-year-old.
The departures of Esmael Goncalves, Cole Stockton, Jamie Walker, Cole Stockton, Rafa Grzelak and the imminent exit of Krystian Nowak have freed up wages.
Steven Naismith, Demi Mitchell and Danny Amankwaa have signed so far this month but Levein insists there is room for more.
“I’m trying,” said Levein. I don’t like this window. I certainly don’t like this window when I’m doing the manager and director of football job.
We had the break in Spain then it’s been game, game, game, game - and as we get closer to the window we lose more players.
“Ann (Budge) was really good with using some of Jamie Walker’s transfer money to get Steven in and I’m working on a couple of things - a midfield player and a striker.
“What has been good is the emergence of the young players to augment the squad so I won’t need to get in the total number that I’ve lost.
“Isma is away, that’s a good bit of business - we more than doubled our money. He is happy.
“We’ve let Cole go so we’ve lost two strikers, he wanted to play and wasn’t happy. I need to try and get people in the door if we can.”
Levein reiterated that he was not aware of any interest from English Championship outfit Sunderland in Lafferty and has no intention of allowing the 11-goal attacker to leave without the club being significantly recompensed.
He added: “Unless somebody comes in with an offer that we can’t refuse, which is the same for every other player on the books. I had heard the rumour but I haven’t heard a thing from anyone about Sunderland.
“We have lost Isma and we have released Cole so we are toiling for strikers.
“I’m trying to get one in so I’m not in a hurry to get one out.
“But you know how it works, if somebody comes in at the last minute, I will s**t myself.”