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Craig Levein <-auth Paul Kiddie auth-> John Rowbotham
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De Vries looks set to bolster Hearts for visit of Steelmen


STRIKE star Mark de Vries is set to return to spearhead the Hearts attack when Motherwell visit the Capital this weekend.

The Dutchman has been hampered by a hamstring problem sustained in the CIS Cup defeat by Dundee at Dens Park and was fit enough only for a place on the bench against Rangers on Saturday, the front man appearing for the last eight minutes as the Gorgie outfit battled to rescue a point from the Ibrox encounter.

However, with a full week’s training under his belt in the build-up to the visit of the Steelmen for Saturday’s live televised clash, boss Craig Levein is confident the powerful striker will be ready to lead the line again as Hearts look to regain that winning feeling after sliding to their fifth defeat in six games against Alex McLeish’s outfit.

"Mark was only able to be on the bench on Saturday but he did come on in the closing stages," said Levein. "Now, hopefully with a full week’s training behind him it will be the end of his hamstring problem.

"We will try to get him through this week and then see what happens."

Levein’s selection options will ease further with Scotland defender Andy Webster also set to return to action after sitting out the 2-1 loss at Ibrox through suspension, although Alan Maybury will complete his two-game ban this weekend.

Skipper Steven Pressley won’t make the Motherwell game but Levein has targeted the New Year visit to Dens Park for his influential captain.

The 30-year-old was forced out of the win over Kilmarnock at Tynecastle after suffering a recurrence of the thigh strain which had sidelined him for four matches.

Saturday’s clash will come too soon for him but Levein is hopeful he will be able to welcome him back for the trip to Tayside on Saturday, January 3 as the Jambos seek revenge for their CIS Cup exit at the hands of the Dark Blues earlier this month.

"Elvis will not make Motherwell but we are hoping he will be back the following week," added Levein.

"He felt his thigh against Kilmarnock but it’s not as bad as the original injury."

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed by UEFA that Tynecastle will no longer be suitable for hosting European games.

In a statement released by the Gorgie club yesterday, they said: "The Scottish Football Association have advised that they have had a definitive ruling from UEFA that Hearts will not be allowed to play European games at Tynecastle next season if they qualify for UEFA tournaments due to the their non-conforming pitch size.

"If Hearts do qualify for European competition next season games will have to played at an alternative compliant stadium in terms of pitch size.

"This confirms what has been stated by the club."

The confirmation means that Hearts’ 2-0 defeat by Bordeaux in the UEFA Cup at Tynecastle last month marks the end of a long and illustrious era at the Gorgie ground.

Chief executive Chris Robinson has always insisted the size of the Tynecastle pitch was the driving force behind the reason to sell up and move to a new ground, with money from the proposed sale of the famous ground used to service the club’s crippling debt of more than £17 million.

Taken from the Scotsman

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