Hearts' Uche Ikpeazu 'should be okay' to face Hibs after head knock

By Jordan Elgott BBC Scotland
Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu receives treatment
Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu was left stunned by a head knock after his winner against Aberdeen

Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu is on track to return from a head injury in time for Saturday's Edinburgh derby, according to manager Craig Levein.

Levein had feared losing the Englishman for three games, including Wednesday's trip to Ibrox to face Rangers and the 13 April Scottish Cup semi-final.

"He's passed all the tests so far and he feels good," Levein said.

"Providing everything goes well for the rest of the week, he should be okay for the Hibs match."

Ikpeazu was forced off during Saturday's win over Aberdeen, shortly after scoring what turned out to be the winning goal.

Scottish Professional Football League head injury guidelines ensure he will not feature at Ibrox.

"He won't make the Rangers game, but I'm pretty confident he will be okay for Saturday," Levein said.

"The guidelines are very strict, but he was fine on Sunday morning when I spoke to him."

Hearts announced on Monday that Livingston central defender Craig Halkett had signed a pre-contract agreement to switch to Tynecastle at the end of the season.

"I'm a huge admirer of Craig's," Levein said. "I see him as an up-and-coming young Scottish centre-back.

"If he continues to make the improvement he's made at Livingston then having him, John Souttar, Christophe Berra and Clevid Dikamona for next season makes me feel pretty good."

Levein is eager to get any summer business done early and also confirmed that contract talks are progressing with on-loan Norwich City forward Steven Naismith and Cameroon midfielder Arnaud Djoum.

"We're inching forward with both of them, Peter Haring as well, but it takes time," he said.

"I don't want to be in the position of the last couple of seasons where we have had mass wholesale changes.

"The strategy has been to try to get some of our more established players signed on long-term contracts and that's been going quite well."

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