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Posted on 17 August 2011  - 12:00

Rafa van der Vaart returns but Harry Redknapp has midfield problems ahead of Thursday night's Europa League play-off, first leg at Hearts.

Rafa van der Vaart returns but Harry Redknapp has midfield problems ahead of Thursday night's Europa League play-off, first leg at Hearts.

Last season's top-scorer Rafa limped out of our pre-season match at Brighton with an ankle injury and missed our final friendly against Athletic Bilbao.

However, he has trained this week and is in the squad for Edinburgh.

Harry cited injuries to Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric, Jermain Jenas and Wilson Palacios as well as Sandro, who is out longer term.

"Tom's had a problem with his ankle since the back end of last season," reported Harry. "Luka has a groin problem, he's not fit. Jermain Jenas has an Achilles problem, Wilson Palacios won't be fit for tomorrow and Sandro is out long-term. They are all central midfield players."

William Gallas (calf) and Ledley King (knee) are also sidelined for the season-opener at Tynecastle.