Hearts head coach Ian Cathro admits winger Jamie Walker may be suffering fatigue after playing more football this year than ever before.
The 23-year-old returned from suspension to make his 42nd competitive appearance of the season against St Johnstone on Wednesday night.
He is regarded as one of Hearts’ most influential attacking players having scored 15 times this season.
Cathro believes tiredness may be creeping into his game as the campaign nears an end.
“When Jamie Walker is alive and pushing, he’s somebody who drives the team. I think this is the most football he’s played in a season for a long time,” said Cathro.
“He’s still a young player, so it can become a wee bit more difficult to maintain that towards the end of a season when your body hasn’t had a rest.
“It’s different in April and May to what it is in September and October. There has maybe been a little bit of tiredness. Maybe the break will help over the next few weeks.”
Hearts’ season finishes in Glasgow on Sunday when they face champions Celtic. Players will then report to Riccarton for pre-season training around the middle of June.
The draw for the Betfred League Cup group stage takes place on June 2 and Hearts will be involved this year as they haven’t qualified for Europe. Matches in the tournament will begin in mid-July.