Hearts boss: Medical team will ensure Jamie Walker is back as soon as possible
Hearts have suffered another damaging blow after it emerged that Jamie Walker is facing up to three months out with a fractured fibula.
The 26-year-old limped off in the first half of Friday’s Betfred Cup win over Motherwell and, after having his injury assessed on Saturday, his worst fears were confirmed. “Gutted to be missing the next few months with a fracture,” the midfielder posted on Instagram yesterday.
The news that Walker could be out until November is a source of significant frustration for manager Craig Levein who felt the player was moving back towards his best form following his return to Tynecastle from Wigan Athletic in the summer. “I’m obviously very disappointed for Jamie, especially when it looked like he was beginning to hit the form that we know he’s capable of,” Levein told Hearts’ website yesterday. “We have a very good medical team here and I’m sure they and Jamie will work hard to get him back and in peak condition.”
Walker’s injury continues a wretched run of summer injuries to key players. With Peter Haring already sidelined by the pelvic problem which plagued him for much of last season, Hearts lost John Souttar to injury against Aberdeen on the opening day of the Premiership campaign and then saw Steven Naismith leave the field at half-time in their second league game against Ross County. Both Naismith and Souttar should be back by the end of the month, with Levein hopeful that they will be fit enough to return to contention for Sunday’s Premiership trip to Celtic Park. “We’ve now lost three key players in our last three games, so I only hope that our luck will change soon on the injury front,” Levein added.
Hearts will be hoping the absence of Walker in the coming months can be offset by the prospective arrival of Japanese playmaker Ryotaro Meshino. The Tynecastle club were granted a work permit for the highly-regarded 21-year-old Manchester City player on Friday and are confident of securing his signature on a season-long loan before the transfer window closes.
“We’ve got the permit which allows us to move on to the next stage,” the manager confirmed. “He needs to apply for a visa and he needs to go back to Osaka to get it, but we’ve passed the biggest hurdle, for sure.”