Jason Holt targets return in Hearts’ cup semi-final

Jason Holt on crutches after suffering a broken metatarsal, and with manager Gary Locke below

Jason Holt on crutches after suffering a broken metatarsal, and with manager Gary Locke below

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JASON HOLT is targeting a new year comeback from injury to ensure he is back to his best in time for Hearts’ League Cup semi-final with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The match on February 2 at Easter Road is one of the biggest of the campaign and manager Gary Locke admitted today he is eager to see Holt involved.

Hearts’ medical staff have predicted that the midfielder will miss between six and ten weeks with a broken metatarsal sustained in training last week. That will sideline him until early in the new year and most likely preclude him from the Edinburgh derby with Hibs on January 2.

The next big target is the semi-final, which Locke feels is a sensible date to aim for. Holt is due to have an operation this week and will begin rehabilitation once he recovers.

“It was an innocuous injury with nobody near him but he’s going for his operation this week. Hopefully he’ll be back by the turn of the year,” Locke told the Evening News today.

“The League Cup semi-final is a realistic target. The timescale on it is between six and ten weeks, so he’s got a couple of weeks left in November and then the whole of December. The League Cup semi isn’t until the start of February so I imagine he would be okay for that.

“The most important thing is he gets himself back fit and well. I don’t want to put a strict timescale on it because you just put players under pressure. Hopefully he’s a quick healer. Ryan Stevenson was ruled out for a while but managed to get back quicker than we expected. Hopefully Jason will be the same.”

Meanwhile, former Rangers defender Darren Cole played as a trialist for Hearts in yesterday’s under-20 match with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, which the young Jambos won 2-1 thanks to a double by substitute Robbie Buchanan. The 21-year-old Cole, who has played in the Champions League, was released from Ibrox earlier this season after a disciplinary issue, but has been given a chance to prove himself to manager Locke.

The Edinburgh club remain unable to sign players whilst in administration, but Locke is planning in case Hearts can exit administration in time to recruit new faces during the January transfer window. A ruling from the SPFL prevents Hearts from signing players older than 21 until February 1, 2014.