Hearts winger Jamie Walker is set to hand head coach Robbie Neilson an injury boost today by returning to training for the first time since undergoing a knee operation.
Highly-rated playmaker Walker went under the surgeon’s knife at the tail end of December having been restricted to only eight starts this season due to the long-standing problem.
But the 22-year-old was buoyed by the medical specialist’s predication that he could return to training within three weeks.
Walker, who has not played since coming off the bench in the October 28 League Cup loss to Celtic at Tynecastle, is expected to return to full training this morning ahead of upcoming league matches at Hamilton and Inverness and the mouth-watering February 7 Scottish Cup visit of fierce rivals Hibs.
Neilson said: “I’m really pleased with how Jamie’s coming on. He’s been doing a bit of conditioning work.”
Neilson is also hoping that Sam Nicholson will be able to return to training in the near future after the attacking midfielder missed Saturday’s comprehensive 6-0 victory over Motherwell with a knee injury.
Despite seeing his team rack up an emphatic winning margin at the weekend, Neilson insists there is still plenty of room for improvement if they are to ever challenge Celtic for the league title.
In their first season back in the top-flight, Neilson has set his side the more realistic target of trying to pip Aberdeen, who are currently six points better off, to second place in the Premiership.
Neilson, whose side have won three matches amid a six game unbeaten run, added: “We got a good result last week in the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen and a fantastic result this week but we’ve still got a long way to go.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do and the players have to improve vastly if they want to get to where we want to be, and that’s challenging Celtic.
“We’ve still got Aberdeen in our sights. It’s been good so far but I still believe there’s a long way to go and there’s a lot of improvement in this team.
“It was great for the fans on Saturday, it was another full house and you want to excite them and make them enjoy themselves.”