BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Alan Stubbs expects summer signing Marvin Bartley to have received a massive boost from making his debut in the weekend’s League Cup win over Montrose.
The former Bournemouth, Burnley and Leyton Orient midfielder joined the Easter Road club last month but had to wait a fortnight to make his bow after moving north short of fitness.
However, after the 29-year-old was given a 65-minute run-out in Saturday’s 3-0 victory, Stubbs believes the combative new recruit will now get better and better.
He said: “Marvin made an instant impact in midfield. I thought he was strong, I thought he was good in possession of the ball and he broke things up.
“You could see he’s going to give us that physical element to our game and I think he can be pleased with his 65 minutes.
“Ideally, we were intending on giving him 45 minutes but we just needed to get the job done and we gave him an extra 20 minutes.
“He’s been working well in training and hopefully that will bring him on an awful lot.”
The fitness of players has been a massive concern for Stubbs in recent weeks, with new signings James Keatings and Danny Carmichael still to make their debuts because of fitness concerns and Martin Boyle and Farid El Alagui being ruled out with injuries.
With Dominique Malonga and Jordon Forster also being sidelined after the Petrofac Training Cup hammering from Rangers, the build-up to the league campaign has been short of ideal.
However, Stubbs added on Hibs TV: “We’re getting there. Players are getting closer than what they have been over the last few weeks.
“We’re hoping we’ll have a few more back for Saturday’s game at Dumbarton.
“So, from that point of view it’s starting to be a little bit more positive.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs has welcomed a home tie in the next round of the League Cup after Monday’s draw paired them with League One side Stranraer, who they defeated in 5-3 in the same tournament in 2013.
Stubbs said: “It’s a good draw. We’re happy that we’ve been given another home tie and an opportunity to play in front of our own supporters.
“We fully expect a difficult game, Stranraer had a good season last year, but the fact we’re at home is a big bonus.
“We’ll do our homework on them and prepare thoroughly for the match.”