Hearts manager Craig Levein insists striker Kyle Lafferty will remain at Tynecastle after the closure of the transfer window unless the club receive an offer they can’t refuse.
Speculation regarding the Northern Ireland internationalist’s long-term future persists ahead of the tomorrow evening’s signing deadline.
Levein, whose side travel to Celtic tonight, has already said that he is unaware of any interest from English Championship side Sunderland in the 30-year-old, who is six months into a two-year contract having joined from Norwich City last summer.
The former Scotland manager is still keen to recruit another striker and midfielder this month and with forwards Isma Goncalves and Cole Stockton having departed the club in the last week, Levein is not keen to see his attacking options diminish further.
Asked if he expected Lafferty to remain at the club, Levein, who revealed Hearts more than doubled their money in selling Goncalves, a £170,000 arrival last January, to Uzbekistani side Pakhtakor Tashkent, said: “Unless somebody comes in with an offer that we can’t refuse, which is the same for every other player on the books.
“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.
“I had heard the rumour but I haven’t heard a thing from anyone about Sunderland.
“But you know how it works, if somebody comes in at the last minute, I will s**t myself.”
One of Lafferty’s 11 goals came in last month’s memorable 4-0 victory over Celtic at Tynecastle and Levein believes the towering former Rangers player will relish a trip to Parkhead.
Levein added: “He does tend to like this match. He is a big-game player. I thought he was really good the last time we played Celtic.”