Robbie Neilson has confessed he will have to strengthen Hearts for life in the Premiership next season, despite his current squad being good enough to romp its way to the Championship title.

The Tynecastle head coach remains cautious over promotion back to the top-flight but, fortified by his team's 20-point lead at the top of the league, has allowed his thoughts to wander towards next season.

With their coronation as Championship winners possibly only a matter of a few weeks away now, the Gorgie boss insists a top-six spot should not be beyond his team in the Premiership.

However, he reckons there will have to be changes made to his pool of players if the Jambos are to return to Scotland's top league with a bang.

He said: "It'll be a big test for us next season if we go up. I'll need to change the squad a bit. I'll need to bring players in and players will leave.

"It will be a totally different challenge for us. We're not going to be winning 15 or 16 games in a row. We're going to suffer defeats here and there and there will be periods where it will be difficult.

"That will be a whole different learning process for ourselves as coaches and also the players."

Neilson has told out-of-contract players, such as former Manchester United left-back Adam Eckersley, that he will not make concrete offers on new deals until the title has been secured.

However, the 34-year-old has admitted he will also have tough decisions to make on how best to bolster his squad for the next step in the club's on-field recovery following the low of administration and relegation from the Premier League.

Neilson added: "I think a lot of them are good enough but there are some of them who would maybe not take us to where we want to get to.

"That's football, it's always evolving. You're always bringing people in and moving players on.

"We'll make decisions and I'll have conversations with players over the summer about my thoughts on their situation and their thoughts.

"At the moment I'm really happy with the squad I've got for the Championship and there's a lot of them I feel can play in the Premiership as well. "The rest is a decision I'll make in the summer."