Hearts take a decision on Nathaniel Atkinson after injury strikes at St Mirren

Tynecastle club already have some key players out
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Hearts intend to send defender Nathaniel Atkinson for a scan on the ankle injury sustained during Saturday’s defeat at St Mirren. All concerned are hoping there is no major damage to the area but need medical experts to confirm the exact diagnosis.

Atkinson was stretchered off on 45 minutes in Paisley after appearing to land awkwardly following a tussle with St Mirren’s Scott Tanser. At full-time, the Hearts head coach Steven Naismith revealed that the club’s physiotherapists identified an ankle problem. The Australian is expected to have the injury scanned this week.

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The issue comes at an already-difficult time for Hearts, who lost for the fifth time in six games at the weekend. They are also missing several key players through injury, including winger Barrie McKay, centre-back Craig Halkett and goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Atkinson is almost certain to miss upcoming games this week against Kilmarnock in the League Cup and Ross County in the Premiership. Midfielder Beni Baningime did return from injury against St Mirren and delivered an encouraging performance. He is still working back to peak condition after missing all of last season with cruciate ligament damage.

“I thought he did really well,” said Naismith after Saturday’s match. “It’s one of those situations where we need to get Beni minutes so that he is robust enough but I thought he played well. During the last two weeks in training, he has been really good. You can see his calmness on the ball is a massive asset for us. He will be a big player for us this season.”

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