Hearts set to welcome Odel Offiah back after medical issue as Craig Gordon and Alex Cochrane updates issued

Hearts defender Alex Cochrane is facing a spell on the sidelines due to injury. (Photo: Sammy Turner - SNS Group)
Hearts defender Alex Cochrane is facing a spell on the sidelines due to injury. (Photo: Sammy Turner - SNS Group)

There were fears that the 20-year-old English defender’s season-long loan may have to be curtailed after a problem in training ahead of the Motherwell match earlier this month and the club had started scouring the free agent market in hopes of finding an adequate replacement, but it appears a stop-gap will not be necessary.

“Odel will come back to us next week and will be back involved with us,” said Naismith. “There were some issues with him still feeling light-headed and things like that so we didn’t want to take any risks. Between ourselves and Brighton we got him to see a specialist to make sure everything is fine and that he can exercise. So he will be back on Monday. Over the last three or four years, it’s been well-documented the amount of players that have had irregularities or that light-headedness. It’s about ticking everything off, making sure everything is fine.”

The Gorgie gaffer reported more good progress elsewhere, with Beni Baningime and Calem Nieuwenhof both back in the fold, Yutaro Oda fit again after fighting off a stomach bug and getting some international action under his belt, and goalkeeper and club captain Craig Gordon “back on the training pitch but there no return date yet”. However, there was bad news after Alex Cochrane picked up an ankle injury in training which could sideline him until November. “Alex Cochrane is out. He blocked a shot in training and it damaged his ankle so he will be out for a minimum six weeks.”

Naismith is pleased by Gordon’s progress. “He’s not back in the squad in terms of game related stuff but, maybe if it’s specific patterns or shooting then he might get involved in that. It is stage by stage to see how he reacts. It is not a case of saying that in two weeks he will be fine. He is in a good place, though. He’s hungry and desperate to get back involved and that’s a good sign after such a bad injury.”