Hearts hope to have captain Danny Wilson, striker Osman Sow and full-back Adam Eckersley all fit and available to face Rangers on Saturday.
All three were due to train with the squad this morning ahead of the mammoth meeting between the Championship’s top two clubs. Wilson and Sow have missed the last two matches with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively, but those are healing well, according to head coach Robbie Neilson.
Eckersley sat out the weekend win at Falkirk due to a hip knock and he is likely to be in the squad for the Rangers game. Striker Dale Carrick is not expected to be fit enough, but he has begun jogging at Hearts’ Riccarton training base. Neilson explained that his injury concerns are beginning to ease ahead of crucial matches against both Rangers and Celtic in the league and Scottish Cup respectively.
“All the boys are back running and a lot of them will join in training today,” he told the Evening News. “Hopefully we can have them all ready for Saturday. I’m hopeful for Sow and Wilson – it all depends how they react to training over the next few days. Both of them have been doing running, as has Carrick.
“I don’t expect Carrick to make it, but the other two are possibilities. I don’t want to take a risk with anyone if it might mean them getting injured again because the guys who have come in have done really well. If these guys don’t make it then we have players who are in the team and have done fantastically well. I don’t have any issues with any of them playing.”
Neilson must decide whether to reinstate Eckersley or keep faith with Kevin McHattie at left-back after the latter scored in the 2-1 win at Falkirk. “Adam will be fit for Saturday – it’s just a question of what I do,” said Neilson. “Adam is fine, he just wasn’t quite ready for the Falkirk game.”