Hearts boss Robbie Neilson insists “key player” Toby Sibbick will not be allowed to leave the club, unless his calculations are met.
Blackpool this week had six rejected for the 23-year-old centre-back who has improved in recent months after struggling to make an impact following his move from Barnsley last January.
Sibbick – who scored his first goal for the club in Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie at Hibernian – has a contract with Hearts until 2025 and Neilson hopes to keep the defender for as long as possible.
“He is a very important player for us,” the coach told Sky Sports. “Every player we have at Toby’s level has a price and the price is unmatched, so he will be here.
“I hope it will be like that until the end of the season because we need him for all the work and building the team.
“There’s no point in bringing in players then six months later and paying back money when we don’t believe the value is there.
“We are building a team around key players and at the moment Toby is one of the key players.”
Hearts have already signed defender James Hill and strikers Yutaro Oda and Garang Kuol this month, and Neilson remains keen to add another, with Sheffield Wednesday’s Callum Paterson among those on his shortlist.
“We have several targets and we are still pushing to enter even one,” he said. “I want to get in at the weekend but I’m not sure.”
Hearts and Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon posted pictures of himself doing a bit of exercise on Tuesday, exactly a month on from his two-legged recovery. Neilson is delighted to see the 40-year-old making such rapid progress in his rehabilitation.
“First, it is an encouragement to all players here and outside the football team that, at his age, he is eager to return,” said the coach.
“He is putting in all the work and doing his best, so there are no surprises in our opinion because we know what a professional he is.
“We didn’t put in any time [his return]. It’s just a matter of making sure Craig starts to get really fit.
“If you ask him, he’s always pushing but the way we see it is to give him time and when he’s ready, he’ll be back.”
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