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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 12:41 GMT
Robertson left with little money
Hearts head coach John Robertson
John Robertson is still uncertain about the future
Hearts head coach John Robertson admits that he is working with a substantially reduced budget despite 20 players starting a week-long trial.

He has lost Mark de Vries and Alan Maybury to Leicester City and has been unable to offer others new contacts.

But he held talks with chairman George Foulkes due to a delay in the proposed takeover by Vladimir Romanov.

"They have given me a core budget, which is a substantial drop in the budget from last year," said Robertson.

"We talked about one or two things, such as the potential takeover and where we go from here.

"As I said before, until someone gave me a budget to work with, then we just had to get on with it.

John seemed much more comfortable
Hearts chairman George Foulkes
"There is a possibility that it can be added to if things change in terms of Mr Romanov."

Hearts were outbid this week by Dundee United for the signature of Stevie Crawford.

And Robertson says he has only "spare change" to work with from the departures of striker De Vries and Republic of Ireland full-back Maybury for nominal fees.

"All we can do now is see if we can use existing money from Mark and Alan's contracts between now and the end of the season," he told his club's website.

Robertson fears that, if the takeover does not go through, a third part of his already reduced budget will be lost.

"We have lost two players, so I needed clarification on whether I can use their wages," he said.

He has been able to offer a new contract to captain Steven Pressley but was hopeful that the board would give him the go-ahead in the coming days to talk to others.

Foulkes said: "John seemed much more comfortable and happier with the situation once I had explained to him what I was doing."

The chairman stressed that Robertson had the same budget as previous head coach Craig Levein and that it was the best in the Scottish Premier League outwith Celtic and Rangers.

It could also be increased by Romanov.

While the Romanov deal is not expected to be completed until next month, the first proceeds from the involvement of the Lithuanian-based banker have arrived at Hearts' youth academy in Edinburgh.

The 20 players, mainly from Eastern Europe, started a week-long training camp on Thursday morning and will be assessed during three matches.

Eight players have arrived from FBK Kaunas, with whom Romanov also has a stake, plus, from Beniusis, Irmantas Zelmikas, Mindaugas Baguzis, Saulius Mikoliunas, Maruiz Zaliukas, Marius Kizi, Kestiti Ivaskevicius and Arturas Rimkevicius.

Also trying to make an impression is 31-year-old Armenian international Hamletas Mchitarianas.

Other players from Russia, Moldova, Armenia and Belarus are expected to arrive for further trials.

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