Outgoing Hearts midfielder Ian Black has the ability to be a success in England next season, according to first-team coach Gary Locke.
William Hill Scottish Cup finalists Hearts last night confirmed they would not be taking up their option to retain Black, whose three-year contract expires in the summer.
The 27-year-old, who moved to Tynecastle from Inverness after beginning his career at Blackburn, will now search for a new club. Locke recently tipped Black for a Scotland call-up and now predicts Barclays Premier League and npower Championship clubs will be seeking his services.
"I think he would be a revelation down there," said Locke, who was speaking ahead of tomorrow's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Motherwell.
"I know he went down to Blackburn as a kid but I think now he's at an age where he's reaching his peak.
"Anybody down there that has seen him play this season will totally agree with myself that if he went down there he would do very well. He has been outstanding.
"It was a matter between Blacky and the board of directors. He's decided that he sees his future elsewhere.
"If we (the coaching staff) wanted to keep him or not, if he says he wants to play somewhere else we wish him all the best.
"He's a fantastic lad and a fantastic professional and he's played a huge part in the success we've had this season."
It is unlikely Black will be called up for Scotland for the Florida friendly with the United States at the end of May, as Craig Levein has an abundance of midfielders to choose from and the Hearts man is nursing a hernia which is set to require surgery after the May 19 Scottish Cup final with capital rivals Hibernian.
First, Black has a key role to play as Hearts bid to secure European football next term.
Motherwell are in pole position to finish third and take a place in the Champions League, with Rangers' financial woes meaning they are ineligible for European competition.
Nine points separate the Steelmen and sixth-placed Hearts, who trail fourth-placed Dundee United by four points and fifth-placed St Johnstone by one.
Hearts complete the SPL campaign with games against Well, St Johnstone and on May 13 at champions Celtic.
Locke added: "We've got two big games coming up and if we want to finish high up the league I think we'll need to win them.
"We've got Celtic the last day which will be another difficult game with them getting the trophy that day."
The future for Hearts beyond the Hampden date with Hibs - the first all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final since 1896 - is uncertain.
Hearts are set to operate under tighter financial constraints after payment of salaries to players and some staff was significantly delayed four times this season.
Black worked as a part-time painter and decorator earlier in the campaign and in January's derby with Hibs at Easter Road he celebrated victory by revealing a T-shirt which read 'I'll paint this place maroon'.
Now Black is set to follow David Obua out of the club at the end of the campaign, while Marian Kello has already departed.
Rudi Skacel and Craig Beattie, who is out of tomorrow's match with a hamstring problem, are out of contract at the end of the season and could also follow as Hearts seek to reduce their wage bill.
Locke added: "Everybody knows the club is looking to cut costs and by doing that we'll have to try to offload players.
"From a coaching point of view we'd like to try to keep some of our more experienced players. (But) we'll have to wait and see what the summer brings."
Hearts need look no further than Motherwell to see what can be achieved on low spending.
And Locke, who played in midfield for Bradford alongside Stuart McCall, now the Motherwell manager, paid tribute to the job his former colleague has done at Fir Park.
Locke added: "It's been nothing short of incredible."