Hearts will be without key midfielder Joaquim Adao for tomorrow’s meeting with Aberdeen at Tynecastle.
The Angolan, who has made a positive impression since arriving from Swiss side Sion in January, was forced off in the second half of last Sunday’s draw with Dundee after taking a head knock and he hasn’t recovered in time.
Manager Craig Levein is also braced for the possibility of being without Michael Smith with a back problem, which would mean Hearts won’t be able to call on either of the central-midfield pairing that performed so impressively when they defeated Partick Thistle 3-0 a fortnight ago. With Prince Buaben and Arnaud Djoum also out injured, the Tynecastle side face being severely depleted in the engine room for the visit of the Scottish Premiership’s second-placed team.
“Joaquim is toiling, he won’t play,” Levein told the Evening News. “He had a weird collision where he banged his neck and head into the Dundee player’s hip, so he’s out. Michael hurt his back before the Dundee game and although he’s better, I don’t know if he’ll make it. That’s a blow because those two started in central midfield against Partick so I’ll need to look at it and re-jig it again.”
David Milinkovic and Connor Randall could come into contention after playing no part at Dens Park last weekend. Milinkovic was an unused substitute after returning to the squad following a knee injury, while Randall, who was due to be on the bench, was forced to withdraw after being sick in the warm-up.
“David was on the bench last week but he wasn’t 100 per cent,” said Levein. “He’s done a bit of training this week, but I’m still not sure he’s 100 per cent. We’re toiling for bodies though so he might be involved. Connor’s better, but he’s not eaten very well this week. I think he’ll be alright, but we’ll see.”