DYLAN McGOWAN is undergoing intensive physiotherapy on his injured ankle in the hope of being fit for Sunday’s League Cup final.
The Hearts defender is desperate to face St Mirren in his first major cup showpiece, but remains touch and go as he attempts to prove his fitness.
The 21-year-old twisted his ankle against Motherwell at the start of the month and was given a prognosis of two to three weeks out. Swelling on the injury reduced quickly, however, and he is now embroiled in a race against the clock to be available this weekend as Hearts go for their second cup success inside ten months.
Should McGowan be declared fit, he would offer interim manager Gary Locke another option for the right-back slot. Fraser Mullen’s own ankle injury requires surgery and will sideline him for the rest of the season, leaving only 19-year-old Brad McKay or perhaps Darren Barr as possible alternatives for the position.
Barr is more likely to line up in midfield, having endured a torrid time at right-back against St Mirren at the end of last month, when Hearts lost 2-0 in Paisley. McKay acquitted himself well on his senior debut against Hibs at the weekend, coming on as substitute after Mullen was forced off by the aforementioned injury. However, his obvious lack of experience could count against him when it comes to cup final places. Jamie Hamill is not in contention for the final after almost a year out with knee ligament damage.
McGowan will attempt to accelerate his recuperation over the next 48 hours to take his place in the Hearts squad for Hampden.