Hearts defender Christophe Berra in fitness race after injury setback

Centre-back faces longer spell out as season looms

Hearts defender Christophe Berra is fighting back from injury.
Hearts defender Christophe Berra is fighting back from injury.

Hearts defender Christophe Berra faces a race to be fully fit for the new season after suffering an injury setback.

He is expected to miss another two or three weeks of training due to a tendon injury, with Hearts’ competitive games due to start on October 6.

The 35-year-old has missed all three of his club’s pre-season bounce games to date as discomfort in his calf proved slightly worse than first feared.

He will continue recovering over the coming weeks in the hope he is ready for Hearts’ opening Betfred Cup tie against Inverness next month.

“Christophe is probably going to be another few weeks. Hopefully it won't be too long,” admitted manager Robbie Neilson.

“He's just got a wee nick on the side of his tendon so I think he will probably miss another two or three weeks. Then he should be back with us and ready to go.”

With Berra out and John Souttar sidelined until next year, Hearts’ desire to sign a new centre-back will now intensify.

Souttar’s Achilles rupture is likely to keep him out for at least six months and a left-sided central defender is high on Neilson’s recruitment agenda.

“We're looking to recruit in the centre-half area with John being out long-term. That's a key one for us,” added the manager.

He has signed wingers Jordan Roberts and Elliott Frear, plus goalkeeper Craig Gordon, on permanent deals. Another wide player, Josh Ginnelly, and a back-up goalkeeper, Ross Stewart, have arrived on loan.

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