Hearts boss Craig Levein admits he could do with new striker being available now amid injury woes

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Hearts manager Craig Levein admits he could do with David Vanecek being available now, but insists the Czech striker will be worth the wait.

The Tynecastle outfit agreed a pre-contract with the 27-year-old during the summer after having bids turned down by Teplice, and Vanecek will officially become a Hearts player when the transfer window opens on January 1.

Levein is currently having to endure a shortage of options in attack, with Scotland striker Steven Naismith and Uche Ikpeazu sidelined with knee and foot injuries respectively.

Those personnel problems have not helped amid a barren five game run without winning and scoring a single goal, with Hearts slipping from first to third in the Premiership.

Vanecek has netted seven times in 15 Czech top-flight appearances this term and Levein, whose side host Rangers on Sunday, admits he expects the forward to make a telling contribution during the second half of the campaign.

Levein said: “The guys we have up front just now all offer something different and David is different again. 

“He is a proper number nine, quick, powerful and he is a good finisher. 

“He would help us just now of course but it’s like buses, they will all come back at once.

“He has had a good start to the season and is fit.”

A two-month winter shutdown of the Czech league means Vanecek will end his Teplice career in the December 15 visit of Zlin.

Although Hearts would need permission from his current club for the player to train with them before the end of the year, Levein insists there is nothing to stop Vanecek getting himself and his family settled in Edinburgh.

Vanecek will be part of a Hearts squad that heads to Spain for a warm-weather training camp in January and could make his debut in the Scottish Cup visit of Livingston later that month.

Levein added: “They finish in December, he will still be under contract but once that contract runs out he will be over. 

“He could come over and look for property before his contract runs out but he can’t play for us. 

“Because of our winter break he can come across to Spain but I would rather he just came across in December and got himself settled and his wife and kids settled before coming away.”

Levein, meanwhile, was boosted by seeing captain Christophe Berra come through 45 minutes of action in Wednesday’s friendly clash at Linlithgow Rose unscathed.

The defender has not played since the August 11 victory over Celtic due to a serious hamstring injury but could make his comeback against Rangers on Sunday.

Levein added: “He played 45 minutes the other night, he has done a fair bit of training and he feels ready to play.”

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