Monday, August 8, 2022
SportHeartsHearts manager Craig Levein longing for the day he will have selection...

Hearts manager Craig Levein longing for the day he will have selection headache

Hearts manager Craig Levein admits he would love to get to a point where he has a selection headache.

The Tynecastle side’s poor start to the Premiership has coincided with a host of first team regulars being absent due to injury.

Steven Naismith, Jamie Walker, Conor Washington, John Souttar, Peter Haring, Craig Halkett, Craig Wighton and Ben Garuccio have all been dogged by problems since the campaign kicked off, while Uche Ikpeazu missed the weekend’s defeat to Kilmarnock with a hamstring strain.

Naismith is targeting a return against Rangers

However, Naismith, Walker and Haring are all making good progress behind the scenes from their respective hamstring, fractured leg and groin injuries and could return for the October 20 visit of Rangers after the international break.

Levein is ready to ring the changes after criticising his players in the wake of last weekend’s loss, a result that leaves Heats ninth in the table.

And the former Scotland manager is longing for the day that he has the bulk of his squad available

Levein, who is under pressure from fans to start getting consistent results, said: “At this moment in time we need everybody. 

“My dilemma for who’ll start the game isn’t a thing just now. 

“Having too many good players isn’t something that currently worries me, but it might be something in the next six weeks that becomes something. I hope it does.

“It is a strong squad. I can pick the best players but you want to be picking the best players who are fit, in form with game time under their belt; who are up to speed and sharp in their mind. 

“Then it’s a really good starting eleven and 18,19 players. I want to get to that point and I think that’ll make things a bit easier for us.”

Scotland forward Naismith has been sidelined since the end of August with a hamstring strain, while midfielder Haring has not featured this season due to a persistent groin problem.

Walker is also making good progress from his set-back against Motherwell on August 16 and Levein is hoping his personnel woes will have eased by the time Steven Gerrard’s side visit.

He said: “For the Rangers game I’m quite confident that Naisy will be back, providing everything goes well with his recovery. 

“The other one who would be most advanced would be Peter. 

“He’s back training and doing quite a lot so I’d be hopeful that he can make a difference.”

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