Hearts boss hoping to welcome back key trio

HEARTS manager Csaba Laszlo has tried to draw a line under last night's home defeat by Aberdeen as he anticipates the return of Jose Goncalves, Christian Nade and possibly Andy Driver for Saturday's trip to St Johnstone.

Injury claimed four players during the 3-0 loss at Tynecastle – Lee Wallace, Ruben Palazuelos, Scott Robinson and Ian Black – leaving the Hearts squad distinctly threadbare for the journey to McDiarmid Park. Laszlo, however, revealed today he is hopeful as many as three experienced faces will return to the squad.

He said Goncalves will definitely be available after overcoming a thigh problem, while Nade is free of suspension. But perhaps most encouraging is the potential return of talisman Driver, who has not played since November.

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"Jose Goncalves will be back, definitely," said Laszlo. "Driver has trained with the team but he needs a little bit more time. Maybe he can play one half against St Johnstone. Christian Nade is also back from suspension. I will bring together 11 players but we must think about the bench. We only have young players and people who were on loan, like Steven Husband and Ryan Wallace.

"The problem is we have too many injured players from last night. We have Ruben out, Ian Black out, Lee Wallace out and Scott Robinson very doubtful. Our squad is not so big and we have so many young players who cannot take all this responsibility on their shoulders."

Asked about yesterday's radio reports of an official approach from Celtic for Wallace, Laszlo responded: "I asked the sport director (Alexandr Metlitski] and he told me we don't have any official requests from any club for our players. There are three days to go, maybe something can happen at the last minute but we need every player we have."