Hearts duo Callum Paterson and Don Cowie in fitness race

Hearts' Don Cowie is fighting to be fit to face Aberdeen. Picture: SNS

Hearts' Don Cowie is fighting to be fit to face Aberdeen. Picture: SNS

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Hearts duo Callum Paterson and Don Cowie face a race against time to feature against Aberdeen after seeing their recovery from injuries interrupted by the Jambos’ training ground lock-out.

Tynecastle boss Robbie Neilson stated on Monday morning that he was hopeful both players could play a part in the televised visit of the title-chasing Dons tomorrow night.

However, Neilson’s plans have been thrown into disarray due to the bout of gastroenteritis which swept through the dressing room, affecting 17 players and causing Tuesday’s Premiership clash with Inverness to be postponed.

Consequently the entire Hearts squad were told to stay away from their Riccarton training base – which is part of a bustling Heriot-Watt University campus – for 48 hours for fear of spreading the 
infection further.

Rest and rehydration has been prescribed by the club doctors and Neilson is hopeful several of his first-team stars will be back in contention when they report back to training this morning.

The enforced hiatus, however, has resulted in a break in training for Cowie and Paterson, with the Hearts coaching and medical team set to run the rule over them today before making a late decision on the pair.

Paterson, 21, has been absent since he sustained shoulder ligament damage in an awkward fall against Kilmarnock on 27 February and, after returning to training last week, the fixture with 
Aberdeen was a target for his comeback.

Cowie, 33, was forced off with a calf injury just 14 minutes into the 3-0 defeat by St Johnstone last month and Neilson has been nursing the experienced midfielder back to full fitness.

The former Wigan and Cardiff star has emerged as a pivotal performer for the Jambos since arriving at the club in January.

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