There was good news and bad news for Hearts fans yesterday concerning the team’s two main strikers.
First the good news. Uche Ikpeazu has signed an extension to his contract keeping him at Tynecastle until 2022.
The former Cambridge United player told the official Hearts website:
“This club has given me a great platform to improve. I love the club, the fans, the city and my teammates as well. I genuinely think I’m improving and getting back to my best. I feel I’m back playing really good now.
“I feel confident and it’s just the goals to come, really. Now is the right time to extend my contract here because I feel the love from the management, the staff and the fans.”
Now the bad news. As feared when he was taken off against Celtic nine days ago, Steven Naismith will require to have surgery on a cartilage injury which means the on-loan Norwich City striker will be about for around 8 weeks. It’s the second long-term injury to affect the Scotland striker this season but Hearts manager Craig Levein was philosophical. He told the official Hearts website:
“I feel for Steven, more than anybody else. He’s worked ever so hard to get back the last time and then this happens again. He needs to get back fit again. That will be his primary concern at the moment.
“He goes for an op on Monday. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is. I think he’s getting a little bit shaved off his cartilage again. Last time he was eight to ten weeks out.
“I hope we see him again before the end of the season. He came back really quickly last time, so I’m hopeful it will be the same again.
“When he was out previously we had a shortage of strikers. Craig Wighton is back and fully fit after his ankle problem, and we’ve got David Vanecek and Uche, so it’s a different situation altogether.”