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Pereira set for scan on injured ankle


HEARTS striker Ramon Pereira appears to be losing his race to be fit for Thurdsay’s crunch UEFA Cup clash against Feyenoord, with boss Craig Levein revealing today that the Spaniard is to undergo scans on his injured ankle.

The 26-year-old had hoped to restart training yesterday with a view to staking his claim for the Group A opener in Rotterdam but those plans had to be ditched with the player still feeling some discomfort. The former Raith Rovers front man was hurt in the closing minutes of the Jambos triumph in Braga in the last round and has not featured since. The forward twisted his ankle in a challenge with keeper Paulo Santos.

The Hearts medical team are confident there is nothing seriously wrong but have asked for the scans, which were due to be carried out in Edinburgh this afternoon, just to be on the safe side. "Ramon was supposed to do some running yesterday but was still in some discomfort," said Levein. "We are pretty sure there is nothing too wrong but sometimes a little bit of reassurance doesn’t do any harm. It is frustrating for the lad as this is a different injury to what was bothering him earlier in the season."

Pereira will still board the flight out to the Netherlands tomorrow morning, with Levein hoping he will be able to have the option of using him from the bench at the De Kuip Stadium.

"Ramon will travel with the squad and we will see how he is over there," said the Tynecastle chief.

While Levein was disappointed with Pereira’s lack of involvement yesterday, there was better news surrounding star striker Mark de Vries.

The Dutchman is desperate to turn on the style for the Jambos back in his homeland but missed Saturday’s defeat by Celtic at Parkhead with a poisoned toe.

The talismanic forward, who smashed both goals in the 2-2 draw in Braga, has been on a course of antibiotics in a bid to shake off the infection.

He played in Portugal with the aid of a pain-killing injection and while he is anxious to line up against Ruud Gullit’s side, Levein has stressed the Dutch star’s situation is slightly different this time. "It is not a case of him being prepared to play through the pain barrier this time," he said. "The problem is a poisoned toe and we have to get the swelling down so he can get his boot on.

"He was a bit better yesterday and I am hopeful he will be okay by Thursday if he keeps progressing."

There were no further injuries following the trip to Parkhead, with Levein reporting just some bruised pride amongst the players.

"We had a number of problems going into game on Saturday and to be honest we have gone there with a full team and suffered a heavier defeat.

"There is a bit of bruised pride amongst the lads but the focus is now solely on Thursday’s game against Feyenoord, a match which everyone at the club is looking forward to."

Hearts, meanwhile, were due to meet Celtic in the SPL reserve league at Tynecastle this afternoon.

With Levein resting a number of his fringe players who will travel to Holland, only Robert Sloan and Neil Janczyk from the first-team squad were due to be involved against the Parkhead outfit.

Taken from the Scotsman

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