Jamie Walker will make his return to the Hearts squad for Wednesday night’s match against St Johnstone, with Steven Naismith expected to rejoin the ranks for Sunday’s League Cup semi-final with Rangers.
The inclusion of two of the club’s main creative forces in the squad for the first time since August, is a major boost for Craig Levein’s side who have just one league win this season, but their manager has warned fans to be patient.
“Jamie will be on the bench and if a situation arises for me to get him some game time, great,” said Levein. “But I don’t think by Sunday he will be 100 per cent. That’s the thing, it’s OK getting everyone back but when you remember them, you remember them at their best and there has to be a bit of leeway to allow everyone time to get back up to full speed.
“I could probably put [Naisy] on the bench tonight as well but it’s complicated. I can give him a full week’s training if he’s not involved in the game and that gives us more certainty he can be involved on Sunday. There’s a balancing act. I hesitate about building it up too much. People expect him to come back and be at his peak but he hasn’t played consistently since February, although he’s had bit part appearances here and there, and Jamie’s been out since the Motherwell cup tie [on 16 August]. “But I do feel much better when I see them back training with us. It definitely lifts the levels.” Levein also has Glenn Whelan, Loic Damour and Aidy White back in contention following recent injuries.