Pivotal two weeks ahead as Hearts reveal when Barrie McKay and Nathaniel Atkinson should return from injury

Both players are at a crucial stage in their respective recoveries
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Barrie McKay and Nathaniel Atkinson could both return to action with Hearts next month if they come through the next two weeks unscathed. The players are now resuming light exercises outdoors at the Riccarton training complex as part of their recovery from knee and ankle injuries respectively.

Provided they do not suffer any setbacks over the next couple of weeks, the winger and defender could both be back in maroon shirts before the year is out. McKay injured his knee against PAOK Salonika in August, whilst Atkinson damaged ankle ligaments at St Mirren in September.

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"The end of the year is probably the easy thing to say, that's when we hope to have them available," Hearts head coach Steven Naismith explained to the Edinburgh News. "They are just going from gym to grass, so this is where they will see whether they are strong enough and feel comfortable enough to progress.

"This is probably the stage where, if they are going to have an issue causing them to pull back for a couple of days or a week or two, it will be over the next two weeks. If not, then they will push on. In the two weeks after that, they will do all the stuff with the physios that they can expect to be able to join the group for certain parts of training."

Hearts will not rush either player back into competitive action and are prepared to give them as long as necessary to ensure they return 100 per cent fit.

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