‘We can be in the ballpark’ | Livingston manager Gary Holt opens up on the future of ‘Hearts target’ Craig Halkett & in-demand Declan Gallagher

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GARY HOLT insists defensive duo Declan Gallagher and Craig Halkett will leave Livingston with his best wishes if they choose to wave goodbye to West Lothian this summer.

However, the Lions boss has vowed to fight tooth-and-nail to hold on to the pair.

Club captain Halkett, out of contract in June, will reportedly hold talks with Hearts boss Craig Levein in the coming weeks with a view to a switch to Tynecastle.

He is also attracting interest from a swathe of clubs south of the border.

Similarly, Gallagher’s deal expires at the end of the current campaign and there were suggestions that he has already agreed to join Motherwell. Holt is adamant the player is yet to sign on elsewhere as he battles to keep his prize assets.

“I spoke to Declan [Gallagher] and we asked him that, whatever transpires, to come back and give us a chance to be in the ballpark,” explained Holt.
“I don’t think we’ll be a million miles away. Then it will be up to him to make a decision.

“Talks are ongoing. But if he decides to go somewhere else he’ll go with our grace, it’s as simple as that.

“Boys are out of contract at every club, it’s not just us, so this is a common situation.”

While Gallagher has shone this term, Halkett is arguably the Lions’ prize asset. He joined the club from Rangers in January 2016 and has been pivotal in their rise from League One to the Premiership.

He was made skipper at the age of 22 and is a hugely influential figure in the dressing room. As a consequence, the interest in him comes as no surprise to Holt.

“Look, teams don’t want your rubbish – they want your good players,” smiled Holt.

“That’s a testament to the lads. If they are playing well and want to go and better themselves then I am not going to stand in their way. That’s the same in any walk of life.

“We will try to stay in the game and offer something reasonable that’s within our wage structure to keep them. But in the end, it will be their call.”

And Holt has emphasised that there will be no hard feelings if the two players see their future elsewhere, adding: “We are very much at a level where we get boys in with the right desire and make-up to improve.

“If they are going to a so-called bigger club than us then they are doing something right and sometimes we have to take a deep breath.

“Yes, we all want to keep our best players, but you understand that players move on. Very rarely do players stay at one club for the rest of their career.”

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