Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin reckons the Tynecastle outfit will be stronger without him next season.
The Scotland squad player is set to depart the Gorgie outfit this summer with clubs south of the border lining up to sign the impressive McLaughlin.
A replacement for the shot-stopper is among Craig Levein’s priorities as he prepares to add as many as ten new faces during the close-season.
A disappointing campaign that was disrupted by head coach Ian Cathro’s sacking last August and the building of the new £15 million main stand looks set to end with a sixth place finish in the Premiership.
However, McLaughlin is adamant that the team will be in a better position to launch an assault on second place next term.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s televised clash at Aberdeen, McLaughlin said: “Really good foundations have been put in this season.
“Certainly, things look bright for next season because the gaffer will get a full pre-season with his group of players and he will be able to get the messages across straight from the start.
“The gaffer and his staff have done a really good job of making everyone see the potential that’s here.
“If you can get the key areas nailed down and get a bit of consistency in various areas, it gives you a real good platform. This club has so much going for it.
“It’s rebuilding from the trouble it had, and that takes time, like any club.
“You can’t just throw tonnes and tonnes of money at something. It takes time and you have to have the right people in place.
“Even if I do move on, they have a a great defensive unit in there.
“I genuinely don’t think we are very far away from the teams currently competing for second.
“It’s quite obvious that the start of the season was difficult for the club: the change of manager, the changes the manager wanted to make to the group and the fact that we played so many games away in a row, home games at Murrayfield.
“We have seen since then how important Tynecastle has been to us, with the consistency we’ve got there.”
While Hearts are unbeaten in 14 games since playing in front of the redeveopled Tynecastle, their away form is less than impressive with Levein’s side only having won four from 17 outings.
And McLaughlin admits that is an area they need to address.
He added: “Sometimes it’s because football is so much about confidence, it’s not just about the ability on the pitch.
“It’s the mindset of people.
“And teams can look at our record and see we don’t win many games away from home, we draw or lose games.
“There is no fear for them to get at us.
“We have not looked as solid or as competitive, but it’s fine margins so often.”
Former Burton Albion keeper McLaughlin, meanwhile, admits he is indebted to Hearts for taking a chance on him last summer when there were question marks over his fitness.
He added: “I have been very grateful for the opportunity the gaffer has given me after a serious injury, and everything that has led from that.
“I snapped a tendon from my arm to the chest three games from the end of last season at Burton and It was the worst possible time.
“I had to have surgery and I had 12 weeks when you cannot lift an arm, you cannot train and you cannot do any work over the summer for pre-season, and of course you cannot pass a medical with a prospective club. It takes you out the market completely.
“That is why it took until August, the season had started, before I could go in with clubs and start training and trying to prove yourself.
“Whatever happens it has been a great season and it’s thanks to the gaffer and others associated with Hearts that that has come about.”