Hearts have confirmed they have dropped out of the running to bring Paul Hartley back to Tynecastle.
The Edinburgh side had been leading the chase to bring the Bristol City midfielder back to Scottish football this summer.
However, in a surprise twist they have now cooled their interest in the 33-year-old, although they remain keen on signing a midfielder.
Aberdeen were also vying with Hearts for Hartley's services and are now favourites for his signature as he is expected to leave Ashton Gate.
"We are remaining open-minded on signing a midfielder," a Hearts spokesman told the Scottish Herald.
"Although our interest has now cooled in Paul Hartley, there are five weeks remaining before the transfer window closes.
"There are still a number of opportunities currently being explored."
Meanwhile manager Jim Jefferies has reiterated the club remain keen on Kilmarnock's Craig Bryson but will not be upping their offer.
"Hearts have made bids for the player concerned which have been rejected so far," said Jefferies. "That's Kilmarnock's prerogative to do that.
"The two clubs are poles apart on the player's evaluation but Hearts will not be upping their bid."