HEARTS winger Jamie Walker could be fit to face Celtic on Saturday after recovering from the injury which forced him to leave the field against Inverness last weekend.
The 20-year-old’s Achilles problem has proved to be not as serious as first thought, which has come as a relief to manager Gary Locke, who was compelled to promote a batch of youth team players to complete his squad for the 2-0 defeat by Caley Thistle .
“With Ryan Stevenson and Jason Holt out at the moment, we can ill afford any more injuries with the size of squad we have just now,” said Locke. “It is good news that Jamie’s injury doesn’t appear to be anything too serious so we’ll monitor him during the week and see how he is nearer to the match.”
Locke admits he must make sure his young players are in the right frame of mind as they prepare for Saturday’s daunting trip to Celtic, just four weeks after they were embarrassed in a 7-0 Scottish Cup thrashing by Neil Lennon’s side. A 4-1 Premiership defeat at Dundee United is sandwiched by the Celtic mauling and the Caley setback, and Locke knows he cannot have his squad feeling sorry for themselves ahead of the journey west.
“It’s important we don’t let the heads drop,” he added. “It’s difficult at times. We have to be positive all the time.
“There is no point in letting the heads to go down, we have to remain positive and put up a better performance than we did the last time against Celtic. It’s another big test for us. We had another young side out on Saturday although I don’t think there is a lot of difference between the teams in the leagues.
“We just have to keep working hard; the work rate, effort and commitment is there but it’s that little bit of quality in the final third. Unfortunately for us, the boys that have produced that are injured at the moment.
“When we do get a couple of injuries to key players it’s very difficult. Our resources are stretched. The club is going through a transitional period where we have to rebuild again.”