Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has confirmed the Jambos are speaking to defender Craig Halkett over a new contract with the 26-year-old one of a number of Tynecastle stars free to start talking to clubs soon over a move in the summer.

Dunfermline v Hearts - Scottish Championship

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Halkett joins the likes of Craig Gordon and John Souttar on the list of players who could leave Tynecastle and Neilson admits his side missed the defender’s presence as they lost to Motherwell last weekend.

The Jambos are also looking to make Alex Cochrane’s spell at the club permanent after he impressed on loan from Brighton as Neilson explained why he’s so keen to tie Halkett down to a new contract in Gorgie.

“We’re speaking to Craig Halkett as well,” Neilson said. “We’ll try and get something done. I’d love to keep him; he’s done very well this season for us. He’s improved as the team has improved.”

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

“He played in centre half in a back two in Championship and did well, but playing in the centre of the three definitely suits him more.”

“We probably did miss him last week. I think the physicality, the way Motherwell play, being direct, strikers using their physicality backing in, getting into areas, because of that and gaining territory, so I think Craig would’ve helped us.”

Hearts host St Mirren this weekend in the Premiership as they look to leapfrog Celtic and move into second place in the table.

Last weekend’s defeat at Motherwell came as a surprise to many following the excellent start to the season Neilson’s side have made, and they’ll be desperate to get back to winning ways tomorrow against the Buddies.

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