Hearts manager Craig Levein has confirmed that Jambos defender Aidy White is edging closer to his first competitive appearance in over two years – but admits he doesn’t want to rush the 27-year-old.

White hasn’t played since appearing for Barnsley in January 2017 after being struck down with a hip injury that has caused huge problems for the Irishman.

Leeds United's English midfielder Aidy White (L) vies with Southampton's Brazilian striker Guly do Prado (R) during the English League Cup Fourth Round football match between Leeds United and Southampton at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on October 30, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications

(Photo by Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images)

Levein is hopeful White can get some game-time before the end of the season but insists he wants to make sure the defender is right before throwing him in.

“He is coming on. He is now running without any pain,” said Levein, as quoted by the Edinburgh Evening News.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: Craig Levein, Manager of Hearts celebrates during the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Heart of Midlothian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden Park on April 13, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“We might see him before the end of the season but I just want to make sure he is right before we put him on the field in a competitive match.

“It’s quite a while since he has played competitive football. We certainly won’t see the best of him until next season but he is making progress and has a smile on his face.”

The defender joined Hearts in January on a deal until 2021 and is someone that Levein clearly rates highly.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: Craig Levein, Manager of Hearts speaks with John Robertson, Manager of Inverness Caledonian Thistle prior to the Scottish Cup Semi Final match between Heart of Midlothian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Hampden Park on April 13, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

After stints at Leeds and Barnsley, it speaks volumes that the Hearts boss was willing to give him such a lengthy contract despite having not played in over two years.

With so much time spent on the sidelines, it’ll take a while for White to get anywhere near his best but if Levein can get him back to looking like the same player he was at Leeds then the Jambos will have won a watch.

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