BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hearts duo Callum Paterson and Don Cowie face a race against time to feature against Aberdeen after seeing their return to full fitness 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 on Friday 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 have 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 seen 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 an awkward fall against Kilmarnock on February 27 saw him sustain shoulder ligament damage 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 against 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.