Frankie Kent, Calem Nieuwenhof and Barrie McKay will return to the Heart of Midlothian matchday squad for Saturday’s Premiership fixture at home to Kilmarnock, Steven Naismith has confirmed.

Kent, a summer signing from Peterborough United, picked up an injury towards the end of last month’s 1-1 draw with Hibernian and has missed Hearts’ previous three matches while he recovered.

The Englishman has been a mainstay in the backline this season and the 27-year-old is back in contention for Saturday’s meeting with fourth-placed Kilmarnock at Tynecastle Park, as is midfielder Calem Nieuwenhof.

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“Frankie and Calem have come back in and trained this week,” Naismith told Hearts TV.

“It’s good to have them back. They have been two really consistent performers for us. The bigger picture is that it creates competition for places again, so the squad is looking quite healthy.”

Nieuwenhof has  regained fitness during the international break but Saturday’s game might come a little too soon for the Australian. 

“It’s a grade two hamstring but it’s progressing really well,” Nieuwenhof told Hearts Standard. “I’ve started training again with the team so potentially looking to be on the bench this weekend but if not the following week.”

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Barrie McKay, meanwhile, is back in contention after getting minutes under his belt in a bounce game against Dundee last week.

Naismith said: “Barrie has been training and is now effectively fit and ready for selection. He was doing really well before the break but we wanted him to get training and that [bounce] game in before he was back in the matchday squad. He is another one who is available for selection.”

Naismith also provided updates on long-term absentees Craig Halkett, Liam Boyce and Peter Haring.

“Craig Halkett has had a wee bit of surgery so he is out, and so is Peter Haring,” Naismith added.

“Liam Boyce is continuing his rehab, and is on the pitch and has been doing some running. Finlay Pollock is back partly training with the group and I think everybody else is fit.

“No, [there were no knocks picked up on international duty]. Everyone has come back feeling good. There has been a bit of travelling but they are fit and trained today.”