Hearts: Steven Naismith 'can help team so much' - Daniel Stendel

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Hearts forward Steven Naismith
Steven Naismith has been troubled by injury

Daniel Stendel believes the return of Hearts forward Steven Naismith will have a positive impact on their effort to climb the Premiership table.

Naismith has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in the draw with Livingston on 4 December.

With Hearts second bottom of the top flight, Naismith is in line to return against Hamilton Accies on Saturday.

"I can feel he can help our team so much - not only on the pitch but also next to the pitch," said coach Stendel.

Following the match against bottom of the table Accies, Hearts will have the Edinburgh derby on Boxing Day before facing Aberdeen on 29 December.

Stendel, who has lost his opening two games as head coach, hopes to have 33-year-old Scotland forward Naismith available for their festive run of fixtures.

"I talked with him three years ago when we had a friendly game with Hannover against Norwich," he revealed.

"Since this time, I got to know him a little bit better and, when I watched the games that he played last year, I can see he is not the youngest player in our squad, but he is the player with the most experience.

"Especially in offence, he has a really good quality that will help us create more chances than we have in the last games."

Stendel repeated his suggestion immediately after Tuesday's 2-0 defeat that he saw progress from their loss to St Johnstone.

"The step to the Celtic game was good, but when we want to win points then we need to also go forward and I think we can improve in this part," he added.

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