Hearts hopeful Berra and Naismith will make early return from injury
Hearts boss Levein is clinging on to hopes that skipper Christophe Berra and talisman Steven Naismith could be set for early returns from their long-term lay-offs in the coming weeks.
Berra has been out since the second game of the season where he suffered a hamstring injury in the win over Celtic, while recently underwent knee surgery after limping out of the Betfred Cup semi-final defeat to the same opponent.
The striker’s prognosis was six to eight weeks on the sidelines. Early indications his return could be on the favourable side of that timescale.
Berra, meanwhile, is understood to be ahead of schedule after initially being ruled out after until the New Year.
That would be a major boost as Hearts look to defend their position at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership table.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of Kilmarnock, Levein said: “You don’t stay at the top of the league for as long as we have without deserving it.
“We’ve had a lot of things to contend with that are out of the ordinary and I’m talking mainly about the injuries but yet we’re still in the same position.
“The key for us is trying to stay out in front to the point where we get our main players back.
“I think we can stay in the fight (at the top), it’s just about hanging in there right now. We’ve got four or five players out who are arguably definite starters.
“I’m hoping that Christophe and Steven are ahead of schedule and will be able to help us in the last three or four games before the winter break.”