El Hassnaoui set for Hearts recall after New Year

Soufian El Hassnaoui. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Soufian El Hassnaoui. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Soufian El Hassnaoui has had a scan on his injured ankle and should return to action with Hearts after the New Year.

The Moroccan forward has not played since sustaining a heavy knock against Rangers last month but scans confirmed there is no long-term damage to the ankle.

Head coach Robbie Neilson hopes to have the 25-year-old back in the next couple of weeks, although it is doubtful whether he will be ready to face Hibs in the Edinburgh derby on January 3. Medical staff continue to work on El Hassnaoui’s injury and Neilson is pleased that the club finally have a clear diagnosis on the problem. El Hassnaoui has made attempts to train in recent weeks but has suffered setbacks. Hearts decided to send him for a scan to determine the full extent of his injury and Neilson is confident he will be fit to return soon.

“Souf went for a scan and we’ve finally got to the bottom of it,” Neilson told the Evening News. “He’s got a wee issue with his ankle so he’s probably looking at a week or two out. He got a bad knock in the Rangers game and he was desperate to get back. He was getting to 75 per cent and breaking down but hopefully we know what it is now and we can get him sorted.”

Turkish centre-back Alim Ozturk sat out Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Cowdenbeath due to a tight hamstring but he is expected to return for tomorrow’s trip to face Livingston.