Hearts are preparing to recall Marcus Godinho to cover for Michael Smith’s injury. With the Northern Ireland full-back likely out for several weeks due to a suspected torn thigh muscle, his Canadian understudy will step in at Motherwell this weekend.
Smith limped off in the closing stages of Sunday’s Scottish Cup win over Auchinleck Talbot and Hearts fear he could be out for around six weeks. Manager Craig Levein is comforted somewhat by the fact Canadian internationalist Godinho is ready to step in.
The 21-year-old scored his first goal for the Edinburgh club in his previous appearance – the 2-0 win over St Johnstone late last month. He suffered a foot injury and wasn’t risked in the next match at Rugby Park. He also didn’t feature in subsequent games against Livingston and Auchinleck.
However, he is now being primed for a return ahead of Sunday’s league trip to Fir Park.
“Marcus scored in his last game hasn’t been seen for a couple of games, but with Mick’s injury he will probably be back in the fold,” Levein told the Evening News.
“It’s just competition for places and strength in depth, which is important. With Mick out, I feel quite relaxed about Marcus stepping in.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Brandon is stepping up his recovery from a cartilage problem with the aim of challenging for that right-back berth in the coming weeks. The 21-year-old spent most of last year sidelined by a cruciate knee ligament injury and returned to the Hearts first team against Aberdeen at the end of December.
The cartilage complaint surfaced last month but he is now resuming training at Riccarton. “Jamie has been injured again so he is just getting back to training,” said Levein.
“He got his cruciate done and got a little problem with his cartilage. He has been on the injury list but he is getting back to training.”