Hearts boss provides injury update on loan Manchester United goalkeeper

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Hearts manager Craig Levein admits he is hoping goalkeeper Joel Pereira will be available for their next Premiership outing against Motherwell.

The on loan Manchester United player sustained a thigh injury on his debut in the 3-1 loss to Celtic on August 25 and subsequently returned to his parent club for treatment.

Colin Doyle was selected ahead of Zdenek Zlamal for last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Hamilton but Levein is hoping Pereira will be fit enough for the visit of the Steelmen a week on Saturday as the Gorgie side attempt to kickstart their league campaign.

(Pic: Hearts TV)

Levein said: “Joel will be okay for Motherwell. He had a slight strain in the Celtic game. 

“He’s gone from playing reserve football at Man United to being thrown into first-team training and matches in quick succession, so he’s just got a little bit of a thigh strain from kicking.

“I’m hopeful that will settle down and he’ll be ready for Motherwell.”

Levein opted to return to the transfer market to recruit Portuguese shot-stopper Pereira on a season-long deal after becoming concerned by Zlamal’s form.

However, the former Scotland boss insists there was never any chance of the Czech leaving before the closure of the transfer window.

He added: “I had a long conversation with Bobby and he recognises why he came out the team. He wants to fight for his place and get himself back in, which is good to hear. 

“I like hearing that. I took him out the spotlight for a bit to give him a chance to get his head back in gear and he’s been good in training.”

Hearts defender Michael Smith, meanwhile, has withdraw from the Northern Ireland squad due to a hamstring complaint.

The right-back also picked up the injury against Celtic and was sidelined for the visit of Accies.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, whose side take on Luxembourg in a friendly this evening before facing Germany in a Euro 202 qualifier on Monday, said: “Michael Smith is not with us.

“Unfortunately, Michael’s hamstring injury means that he won’t be able to be fit for either game which is a blow.”

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