Prince Buaben is facing several weeks on the sidelines after sustaining a hamstring injury while playing for Hearts’ development team in yesterday’s Edinburgh derby.
The Ghanaian midfielder, who has endured a frustrating season, had to limp off in the second half of the under-20s’ 3-2 defeat to Hibs at Oriam.
Manager Craig Levein confirmed that Buaben is likely to be out until after the Premiership split next month. “Prince has done his hamstring,” he told the Evening News. “He’ll be out for a minimum of a couple of weeks - hopefully it’s no worse than that. He’s had a hell of a season. It’s just been one thing after another for him.”
On a brighter note, Levein is hopeful that Kyle Lafferty and Aaron Hughes will both be available for Sunday’s trip to Dundee despite having their involvement with the Northern Ireland squad prematurely curtailed by injury.
Top scorer Lafferty was sent home by his country last week due to a thigh problem but did some light training at Riccarton yesterday. “Kyle had a little thigh strain after the Partick game and went away with the national team but he wasn’t going to be ready to play, so they sent him back,” explained Levein. “He’s done a bit of running and felt not bad so I’d be hopeful, especially with the game being on Sunday.”
Hughes played only 18 minutes of Northern Ireland’s friendly against South Korea on Saturday. “Aaron got a dead leg so he came off more as a precaution,” said Levein. “He’s a bit sore still and it’s coming out in bruising but I’m hoping he’ll be fine for Sunday.”
The manager is hopeful that David Milinkovic, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury, will be fit to return to the squad on Sunday after undergoing some rehabilitation work in France over the past week and a half. “David has been in France getting treatment so he’ll be back on Thursday and hopefully ready to train on Friday with a view to being in the squad for Sunday,” said Levein. “He’s been in France for about ten days but he says he’s made good progress so we’ll see.”
Captain Christophe Berra continues to be plagued by a niggling ankle problem but Levein doesn’t anticipate him missing any games imminently. “Christophe is probably going to need the summer to clear up his injury but he’s a trooper so he’ll soldier on week to week,” said the manager.