BY DARREN JOHNSTONE @CCP_Sport
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists Soufian El Hassnaoui will come good – despite the striker suffering another injury set-back.
The Moroccan’s return from knee surgery has been delayed after he picked up a groin strain.
El Hassnaoui, who has not played a competitive game this season after tearing a posterior cruciate ligament in July’s pre-season outing at Preston, had been on the verge of a comeback before his latest problem struck.
The 26-year-old has been plagued by a series of injuries since joining from Sparta Rotterdam in summer 2014.
After undergoing a groin operation shortly after his arrival, the marksman then had ankle surgery carried out last November, restricting him to only 19 appearances during their Championship-winning campaign.
But Neilson is still hopeful that the player can realise his potential at Tynecastle.
Neilson said: “It’s been difficult for him, he came in last summer having just had an operation.
“He came in and did pre-season and needed another one. He played ten games and needed another one.
“He came back pre-season and did his knee and has been out since then.
“It’s been one thing after another but I still believe he will be a good player for us. It’s just taking a while.
“He should start back training next week and then we’ll build him up again.
“Sometimes, when you’ve been out for a long time, you come back and there’s another area that’s a bit weak and you get small niggling injuries like this.
“We’re just trying to nurse him through it.”
Neilson, meanwhile, is hoping that Jamie Walker can avoid going under the knife to mend a persistent knee problem.
The winger has been plagued by the injury in recent months and was rested for the games against Partick Thistle and Hamilton.
The highly-rated Walker is receiving treatment at the club’s Heriot-Watt training centre and could be in contention to face Dundee on November 21.