Uche Ikpeazu, Peter Haring and John Souttar should all be back in action for Hearts by mid-February as their injury problems near an end. All three are key players for the Edinburgh club and their returns are eagerly awaited.
Scotland international centre-back Souttar is in contention for a place on the substitutes’ bench against Dundee tonight after three months out due to hip surgery.
Ikpeazu, the English striker, has been sidelined for the same period due to a foot operation. He will begin running next week and could be ready to play the week after.
The versatile Austrian Haring underwent successful surgery earlier this month to cure a double hernia. He is expected to don a maroon shirt again around the middle of next month.
“We got Christophe Berra back and we got Steven Naismith back recently,” said Craig Levein, the Hearts manager. “Peter’s operation went really well so we’ve got him to come back.
“Peter was probably our most consistent player in the first half of the season, John forced his way into the Scotland squad and Uche was probably our best player until his injury.
“Anybody would be happy adding those three to their squad. I just don’t know who is going to play, who will be on the bench and all the rest of it. It’s a good position to be in.
“Uche will be back running next week and playing probably a week after. John has only been back in full training for two or three days. He will probably come in and sit on the bench.
“Peter should be back in mid-Feburary. The operation went well, although it’s slightly more complicated because it was a double hernia and not a single. I’m hoping we will get even more out of him when he is pain free for the first time in a while.”