Hearts’ Sam Nicholson targets Scottish Cup tie for return

Sam Nicholson is on the road to recovery

Sam Nicholson is on the road to recovery

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Hearts winger Sam Nicholson is making steady progress following a knee injury and remains on course to return after the winter break.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a straightforward recovery process to date. He is scheduled to resume full training after the Scottish Premiership enters its four-week winter shutdown, which begins on January 1.

He is hopeful of being available when Hearts visit Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup fourth round on Sunday, January 22.

Failing that, the target would be subsequent league matches against Celtic on Sunday, January 29, or Rangers on Wednesday, February 1.

Nicholson went into hospital for some tidy-up surgery early in October but doctors found more damage to his knee than was originally anticipated. As a result, he underwent an operation and was ruled out for three months.

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro explained that reports from medical and fitness staff at Riccarton indicate Nicholson is making good headway in his recovery.

“Sam is progressing well and I’ve had good reports on him,” Cathro told the Evening News. “When you’ve got an injury like that, there are a couple of landmark points that you get through. He’s completely on track, feeling good and working hard. Everything is going as planned.”

Nicholson is out of contract next summer and is a key part of the first-team squad at Tynecastle. Talks have taken place regarding a possible extension.