Hearts striker John Sutton poised for Central Coast Mariners loan
Hearts striker John Sutton is on the verge of a move from Edinburgh to Central Coast Mariners in Australia, the Edinburgh club has confirmed.
The 28-year-old was initially out of favour under manager Paulo Sergio but has started three of the last five games under the Portuguese.
But now Englishman Sutton is set for a loan move to the A-League leaders.
Sergio told Hearts TV: "We have lost John Sutton to Australia and we will see what's going to happen."
Graham Arnold's Mariners are 10 points clear of Wellington Phoenix at the top of the A-League.
Sutton, who began his career with Tottenham Hotspur before spells with Carlisle United, Swindon Town, Raith Rovers, Millwall, Dundee, St Mirren and Wycombe Wanderers, joined Hearts after leaving Motherwell last summer.
He was signed by Sergio's predecessor, Jim Jefferies, and the new manager admitted that the target man did not suit his style of football.
Sutton has appeared 18 times, 12 of them starts, in Hearts' 30 fixtures this season, scoring three goals.
However, he becomes the latest player to exit Tynecastle after owner Vladimir Romanov said that he was looking to sell the club and reduce running costs.
Janos Balogh's contract was terminated before the January window opened and the goalkeeper was followed out of Tynecastle by Calum Elliot, Robert Ogleby, Evaldas Razulis and Ryan Stevenson.
Hearts did extend the contract of one big earner, winger Rudi Skacel, as a mass exodus of players from the outfit sitting fourth in the Scottish Premier League failed to materialise.
Now Sergio has told his players, who recently resolved a long-running wages dispute with the club, that performing well for Hearts is the best way to seal a move away from Tynecastle in future.
"Our focus and our talks with the players is to be focused," he said.
"Anyone that wants to make a movement to improve his situation should do a good job for the team and, afterwards, things come naturally."