MIGUEL PALLARDO will miss the start of the season with an Achilles problem to compound Hearts’ injury problems.
His fellow midfielder, Prince Buaben, is doubtful with a hamstring complaint, whilst forward Soufian El Hassnaoui is already out until November because of a torn knee ligament.
Head coach Robbie Neilson today revealed the extent of his injury worries but said Spanish striker Juanma and Polish defender Blazej Augustyn should be fit to face Arbroath in Thursday’s League Cup first-round tie. They both sat out yesterday’s friendly defeat by Everton at Tynecastle, as did Pallardo and Buaben.
Pallardo’s leg has been placed in a protective boot and he will see a specialist this week.
Neilson hopes he will only be absent for two weeks at the most but cannot be certain until a medical expert assesses the midfielder’s Achilles.
“He’s in the boot as a precaution because he’s got a wee problem with his Achilles tendon,” Neilson told the Evening News.
“I think he’ll be out for a week or two but we’re waiting for a specialist to have a look at it this week.
“We think he should only be missing for a short time but, until the specialist sees, it we want to keep the area protected.
“Juanma and Augustyn have been training but they had a couple of niggles and, to be honest, I didn’t want to risk them against Everton.
“I knew it would be a full-on game which would be very difficult. Both of them will be available for Thursday night, though.
“Buaben has been doing light training and my main aim is to have him available for Sunday.
“He’s got a wee niggle in his hamstring. He’s had it for a wee while now and it’s been coming and going so I wanted to keep him out to try and get him ready for the start of the season.”
Neilson explained his decision to rest players with niggling problems yesterday as Everton enjoyed a comfortable 3-1 win over Hearts.
“There’s no point taking any risks at this stage. Yes, it would be great to play against Everton and win but if you have a good season then nobody is bothered what the score was against Everton.
“That’s the thing. It’s important these guys are one hundred per cent and that I don’t take any risks with them.”