A number of key players have been sidelined lately with a variety of complaints, including defenders John Souttar [ankle], Michael Smith [back] and Alex Cochrane [head], midfielders Beni Baningime [knee] and Cammy Devlin [hamstring], plus winger Gary Mackay-Steven [hand].
Training methods at the club’s base on the outskirts of Edinburgh are carefully monitored to ensure the squad is not being overworked. With a number of big games coming in April and May as the campaign draws to a climax, rest and recuperation will be a priority.
Manager Robbie Neilson has given players some time off this week as international fortnight pauses club football. He hopes to have one or two of the above back by the time Hearts resume Premiership business at Ross County a week on Saturday.
He told the Evening News that most of the injuries have been caused by contact during challenges in games. “It's just impact injuries. You go through periods of the season like that. They aren't muscle issues so it's nothing to do with the sports science, the medical side, the training or the games. Contact injuries happen,” he said.
“We have a lot of the ball in games. We try to get it into players in tight areas so teams are going to have contact on you. If you don't have any of the ball, you aren't in a position to be tackled. Because we get the ball and play it into tight areas, feeling our players can deal with it in there, then you will get contact.”