Callum Paterson in frame for Hearts return against Dons

Hearts defender Callum Paterson has been absent for the last six weeks after suffering shoulder ligament damage against Kilmarnock
Hearts defender Callum Paterson has been absent for the last six weeks after suffering shoulder ligament damage against Kilmarnock
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Callum Paterson still has a chance of returning for Hearts in tomorrow night’s showdown with Aberdeen despite the virus that hit the squad this week denying him the chance to take part in intense training with team-mates.

The right-back has been sidelined for the last six weeks after sustaining shoulder ligament damage in the victory over Kilmarnock at the end of February.

The 21-year-old has now recovered from the injury, but has been hindered in his bid to prove his fitness over the past two days after Riccarton was shut from Monday until this morning in order to eradicate a bug which had floored several members of the Hearts team.

Today’s training session will be crucial in determining whether Paterson is ready to be considered for a place in the squad for tomorrow’s televised encounter at a sold-out Tynecastle. Hearts were expecting all of their players back at Riccarton this morning after recovering from the effects of the virus which caused Tuesday’s match at Inverness to be postponed. As explained by sports scientist John Hill in yesterday’s Evening News, any players still showing signs of weakness this morning will be offered electrolytes to aid their rehydration and get them back up to full fitness.

Jamie Walker, who has been struggling with a dead leg sustained in the defeat to Celtic last weekend, is expected to be fit, while head coach Robbie Neilson is hopeful of having Don Cowie back in contention after the veteran midfielder missed the trip to Celtic Park with the calf injury that forced him off early in the defeat by St Johnstone three weeks ago.

Juwon Oshaniwa, who was due to be suspended on Tuesday, will instead serve his one-game ban tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Sean McKirdy has been told he will not have his contract at Hearts renewed beyond the end of the season.

The midfielder, who made two first-team appearances as a 16-year-old last term, forced his way more prominently into the first-team squad early this season and made a further four appearances after impressing in the development team.

However, the 17-year-old soon faded from the first-team picture and has been informed he will not be retained for next season.