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Levein rues selection headache as injury problems mount

A further five players have been ruled out of Hearts' clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

Craig Levein: 'We have more than 11 players though so we will put something together.'
Craig Levein: 'We have more than 11 players though so we will put something together.' SNS

Craig Levein jokingly asked journalists at Hearts' media conference if they want a game on Saturday as injury problems mount at Tynecastle.

Five players have been added to Hearts' list of casualties following the midweek goalless draw with their Edinburgh rivals Hibs.

Levein has been left with a selection headache ahead of the visit to Pittodrie this weekend but says it is simply due to bad luck.

"We've got a few problems on top of the ones we've already got," he said.

"Prince (Buaben), Ross Callachan, Jamie Walker, Rafa Grzelak and Connor Randall are all out on top of the ones that were already out so do you fancy a game?

"It's been a tough three or four months, we've had a catalogue of injury problems and we've had games stacking on top of each other and the fact we've had quite a small squad hasn't helped.

"We have more than 11 players though so we will put something together."

'Prince (Buaben), Ross Callachan, Jamie Walker, Rafa Grzelak and Connor Randall are all out on top of the ones that were already out so do you fancy a game?'
Craig Levein's proposition to journalists

Arnaud Djoum is already out with an Achilles problem, while Ashley Smith-Brown and Rory Currie are long-term absentees.

Aaron Hughes has also been struggling with a calf problem to add to Levein's current selection headache.

When asked if there was a recurring theme, the boss said: "They are all different things - Connor has broken his hand and Jamie has a problem with his knee. These aren't things you can cater for.

"Prince went into the game with a groin strain so we knew of that issue, and he has just made it worse, and Rafa got injured in training on Thursday so it's just been one of those situations and I can't really put my finger on it.

"They're not just one type of injury and I'm quite glad this is the last game before the break but we couldn't have picked a tougher match. Aberdeen are in great form right now and it will be a real test."

Walker's future at Tynecastle has been the subject of constant speculation since the summer and there have been fresh rumour the midfielder could be set for a move to Wigan.

Although his knee injury is unlikely to be serious enough to prevent a move, Levein says he is unaware of any bids from other clubs.

"We've heard rumours," he said. "But we have not had any concrete stuff going through so we will see what happens in the next three or four days."

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