Hearts striker Ikpeazu a "major doubt" to face Motherwell tonight

Uche Ikpeazu pictured playing for Hearts at Fir Park on September 15
Uche Ikpeazu pictured playing for Hearts at Fir Park on September 15

Motherwell's hopes of qualifying for the Betfred Cup semi-finals tonight have been boosted by the news that key Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu is a major injury doubt.

The burly forward is a major doubt following a foot injury he picked up in Hearts' recent 1-0 league win at Fir Park.

Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson was stretchered off after collision with Ikpeazu

Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson was stretchered off after collision with Ikpeazu

Ikpeazu won a 50-50 challenge with Motherwell goalkeeper Trevor Carson which led to the winning goal from Steven Naismith.

Carson, who had a suspected broken ankle, recovered to face Aberdeen at the weekend but Ikpeazu missed the Jambos' 0-0 draw with Livingston.

“I’m not sure if Uche is going to make it. We might be leaning more towards Saturday for him,” admitted Hearts boss Craig Levein."

If the giant forward is passed fit to play, 'Well keeper Carson will relish the rematch at Tynecastle

“Of course I’m looking forward to it,” Carson said.

“It’s a massive game, the quarter-final of a cup.

“Tynecastle in a night time game under the lights, it will be fantastic.

“We have to get our season up and running, it’s been frustrating. One step forward, two steps back.

“We just need to get back to doing what we were good at last year, being horrible and nasty to play against.

“More importantly, hard to score against.

“Teams are scoring against us and don’t have to work for their goals at the minute.

“We’re confident we can get a run together and it’s another opportunity for us on Wednesday so it’s a great game.

“You shouldn’t need motivation for any game but we’ll get ourselves up for it and we’ll be fine."

The Northern Irishman sustained leg cuts and bruising after being kicked by Ikpeazu on September 15, as the keeper rushed out for the 50/50 challenge when team-mate Carl McHugh was short with a backpass.

“I saw straight away Carl mistimed the passback,” the Northern Ireland goalkeeper told the Motherwell Times.

“So I knew straight away I was going to have to be fully committed.

“Hindsight is great. I could have knocked it round him.

“Maybe best pulling out of it because he maybe would have knocked it out of play.

“But at the time all I was thinking was going in as hard as I can and winning the ball.

“Unfortunately I came out on the wrong end of it and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

“Straight away I feared the worst.

“Because I couldn’t see any blood at the time and with the pain I was thinking: ‘That’s broken’ straight away.

“But obviously whenever I took the socks off and I saw the damage I was quite relieved when I saw the marks.

“I put a bit of weight on it and I knew it maybe wasn’t as serious as I thought.

“I was lucky, looking back at the footage.

“I think I got away with a lucky one because he’s a big boy with a lot of force. It could have been a lot worse.

“If you catch any player I don’t think you’re blameless.

“But I think in terms of ‘did he mean it’ no I don’t think he did.

“It was an honest attempt to win the ball.

“That’s what football’s about. If you mistime challenges and you catch your opponent it’s not a fair challenge.

“But it’s one of those things. It cost us a goal, it cost me a few days’ training and potentially worse but it is what it is.”