Hearts boss cheered as injuries ease

Kevin McHattie, right, played at Ibrox on the first day of the season

Kevin McHattie, right, played at Ibrox on the first day of the season

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Hearts hope to have a fully fit squad within the next two weeks as injured players Osman Sow, Kevin McHattie and Dale Carrick near a comeback.

All three have started light exercises at the club’s Riccarton training base and should be back in action by the middle of next month.

Head coach Robbie Neilson is eager to have a full quota of players to choose from, particularly in attack, where James Keatings and teenager Gary Oliver are the only fit strikers. He is also keen to sign another forward but, contrary to suggestions, he is not looking at Bolton Wanderer’s Tom Eaves or Billy McKay of Inverness.

McHattie’s knee injury is healing and Sow and Carrick are overcoming thigh problems. Soufian El Hassnaoui should also return next month after an ankle injury. “Kev’s been running, Osman’s been running and Carrick’s been doing a bit of strengthening on his legs,” said Neilson. “I’d like to think that, by the middle of January, I’ll have a full squad available again. I don’t see any of them making the Hibs game on Saturday unfortunately, but everyone else should be fine.”

“As long as they get through the week then we should have the rest of the squad available for the weekend.”