BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Hibs manager Alan Stubbs has urged the club’s supporters to give new signing Islam Feruz time to make his mark on the pitch.
The on loan Chelsea striker made his debut for the Leith outfit as a 72nd minute substitute in Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 victory over Alloa.
Stubbs is determined to provide an environment for Feruz to showcase the talent that led to the English champions handing the 20-year-old a contract until 2018.
Former Everton Under-21s coach Stubbs is also keen to help Feruz mature off the park following a series of unwelcome headlines, and he is sure the marksman will make an impact during his season at Easter Road.
Stubbs said: “He is one that can be very exciting but it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s work in progress but he’s got ability, he can score goals.
“My main reason for bringing in Islam was because of his football ability.
“I am there to work with players. If I can’t manage Islam, I’m not doing my job properly.
“He is very intelligent, he makes some very good runs. He will score different types of goals; he could be anything.”
Stubbs had no hesitation in naming Feruz in the squad even though the player appeared in a Glasgow court on Wednesday.
The former Celtic trainee denied driving his Porsche without a licence or insurance while being banned from the road.
Stubbs admits that the player needs to make changes off the pitch.
He added: “Whenever I sign a player it’s a gamble. Some gambles are a bigger risk than others. He has to realise that not everybody is going to give him opportunities all the time.
“He has got to make better life choices and once he does that I think you’ll see why Chelsea signed him in the first place.
“I’d rather work with talent than no talent.”
Stubbs, meanwhile, is keeping his fingers crossed that James Keatings has not suffered yet another hamstring injury after the forward made way for Feruz on Saturday.
Keatings made only his second start of the season against the Wasps after being sidelined by the same problem at the start of the campaign.
The former Hearts marksman was due to undergo a scan yesterday to determine the extent of the injury.
Stubbs added: “We’re hoping it will be nothing serious, we’ll send him for a scan and that will give us a clearer picture. It just looked like he’s tweaked it.
“He’s looked sharp the last couple of weeks, him and Jason (Cummings).
“For the first time we’ve got really good options of attacking players that we can mix and match.”