Hearts will leave star duo behind in Edinburgh when they jet to Spain

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Hearts will leave John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu at Riccarton to complete the final stages of their injury rehabilitation whilst the first team head to Spain next week.

Souttar is slightly closer to a return than Ikpeazu after the players underwent surgery for hip and foot injuries respectively.

Uche Ikpeazu has been doing some running in an anti-gravity machine

Uche Ikpeazu has been doing some running in an anti-gravity machine

The Scotland defender is in the final phase of his recovery, with the English striker not far behind as waits to have a screw removed from his foot. The Hearts manager Craig Levein has been without both players since they were sidelined back in October. He anticipates that Souttar will be available by the end of the month with Ikpeazu to follow quickly.

“John might be slightly ahead of Uche. I was toying with the idea of taking John to Spain but I don’t think I will,” Levein told the Evening News.

“He will do some of his return-to-play work while we are over there and hopefully be close to being ready to go once we come back.

“There are a lot of boxes he needs to tick before he can return to full training. It looks like they will be done in the week we’re away so he will be here. I’m really looking forward to getting John back.

John Souttar is close to returning to action with Hearts

John Souttar is close to returning to action with Hearts

“Uche has a screw in his foot to hold everything in place. It gets taken out just as we’re coming back from Spain so he should be ready to go two or three weeks after that. He is doing a bit of running in the anti-gravity machine but until the screw comes out he can’t do an awful lot.

“He is in good nick because he’s been working really hard. The secret is to try and get him back to the performances he was putting in before he got injured. I’m hopeful we can do that and he will obviously be hoping for the same.”