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Levein welcomes return of goalscorers to Hearts squad

The Tynecastle boss says he can see 'green shoots' of recovery in his injury-hit squad.

Craig Levein has said the imminent return of Jamie Walker and Steven Naismith brings a proper goal threat that will make him and his players "much more comfortable".

Hearts have been plagued with injuries to important players this season and seen results suffer as the manager has sought to cope with absences throughout the side. 

Levein revealed that players were starting to get back to fitness and that Walker and Naismith were now in full training and could make their returns this week.

"I thought it was a below par performance against Kilmarnock but since then we've had two tough, competitive performances," he said. 

"My reason for getting a little bit happier is that Jamie Walker has a history of scoring double figures in the Premiership. Steven Naismith has a history of scoring double figures in the Premiership.

"So they're nearly back and I don't expect them to go from being injured to banging in hat-tricks every week but it'll feel much more comfortable to have people at the top end of the pitch who can score."

The Hearts boss admitted it may take a while for his side to climb the table but that he felt the worst of the crisis is over.

"The frustration for me is that I feel at times we've had eight starting players sitting in the physio's room," Levein added. "It's really difficult to perform at your best when that's the case.

"I would like to get Souttar and Halkett back, I would like to get Conor Washington back as well as other players but I have to be more patient.

"The Livingston game was the one where I thought we had enough injuries and then we lost Jake and Aidy White.

"Now, we're starting to see the green shoots of recovery, I hope."

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