Ryan Porteous is adamant he will not allow the possibility of an imminent departure from Hibernian to distract him from the task of trying to knock in-form Hearts out of the Scottish Cup this weekend.
The Edinburgh rivals meet in the fourth round at Easter Road on Sunday in a match that could prove to be the defender’s last in green and white.
Porteous has already made it clear he will not extend his contract beyond the end of this season, and Hibs are open to selling the Scotland centre-back this month if they receive a satisfactory offer.
Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson revealed on Thursday that his club have made a bid for the 23-year-old, while he has also been linked with Udinese, among others.
“As far as I’m aware, I’ll be here after the game on Sunday,” Porteous said on Friday afternoon. “There have been a few bids and conversations, but that’s down to my agent and the club to sort.
“I just concentrate on my football. We’ve got Hearts to concentrate on Sunday, so that’s where my head’s been at.
“I’ve got people surrounding me and they know how to manage me. They’ve been there for years. I switch myself off from social media. I’ve done that for the last couple of years. I don’t read it and I think it’s helped me massively.
“There might be a lot of talk on the outside, but the kind of conversations I need to have are done pretty early in the week and other than that I just concentrate on the football.
“I think it could be quite difficult for a lot of players, but I try to come in every day and be a top professional and I’ve found it pretty easy to concentrate on my football and let my football do the talking.
“I think I have done that in the last month. We’ve got one of the biggest games of the season on Sunday, so that’s where my head’s at. These are the big games for the club, I’m contracted to the club and I feel I’m an important player for the team, so if I’m here and I’m selected, I’ll give everything.”
Hibs boss Lee Johnson has no worries about fielding Porteous on Sunday, despite speculation about his future ratcheting up as the end of the January window draws closer.
“Ryan’s been excellent in both centre-half and central midfield and that’s why he’s attracting all this attention,” said Johnson. “I’ve always felt as a player and then as a manager that if you continue to play well, then good things come.
“Things change all the time, a day is a long time in football. Who knows what could happen over a weekend and therefore what might adjust on Monday.
“But Ryan’s absolutely focused. He’s not beaten Hearts in a game like this before and I know he’s really hungry to do that.”
Asked if he expects Sunday to be Porteous’s last for Hibs, Johnson said: “I honestly don’t know. If you held a gun to my head now and said, ‘Is it his last game?’ I’d say, ‘No’.
“It seems to have been built up that way, but, as far as I’m aware, nothing is sorted or close to it.”
Hibs hope to have Paul Hanlon and Chris Cadden back in their squad for Sunday, along with Lewis Miller, but Jake Doyle-Hayes is struggling with a knock and Mykola Kukharevych and Martin Boyle are both long-term injury absentees.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country