BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Hibs are hopeful of completing a deal to sign former Bournemouth and Burnley midfielder Marvin Bartley in the next 24 hours.
The 29-year-old, who was on the books of Leyton Orient last term, was shown around the capital club’s East Lothian training base yesterday and contract talks are at an advanced stage.
Reading-born Bartley, who is eligible to represent Jamaica at international level, played 28 times for Orient last term as they endured relegation from League One and opted to leave the club at the end of last term.
He would become Hibs’ sixth summer signing following the arrivals of Mark Oxley, Martin Boyle, James Keatings, Danny Carmichael and Antonio Reguero – and will fill the combative central midfield role vacated by Scott Robertson and Liam Craig.
Bartley, a £350,000 signing by Eddie Howe for Burnley in 2011, also turned out for Hampton and Richmond Borough, Didcot Town, Hayes and Burnham as he took the non-league route to professional football.
Meanwhile, Hibs have been rocked by an injury blow after versatile forward Danny Handling was ruled out for at least six months.
The 21-year-old was stretchered off during Tuesday evening’s 3-0 friendly win over Berwick Rangers at Shielfield and subsequent scans have shown that he has suffered knee ligament damage. He will go undergo surgery next Friday but will not kick a ball again until 2016.
Stubbs rued: “It’s his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and it is obviously disappointing news. We feared the worst when it happened.
“We thought it was something serious and it has proved to be the case. The best case scenario would be the start of next year, maybe six months at the minimum.”
While Stubbs is hopeful Danny Carmichael could return to training in time to be considered for next week’s curtain-raiser against Rangers, fellow new signing James Keatings will miss the start of the season.
He added: “It looks like he’s going to miss a few weeks. He has a slight hamstring strain. For the couple of weeks, he won’t be featuring.”