Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs insists striker Anthony Stokes is not a replacement for Jason Cummings after admitting the highly-rated youngster has been offered a bumper new contract.
Stokes is on the verge of returning to Leith from Celtic on a loan deal for the rest of the season as Stubbs attempts to add striking reinforcements for his side’s Championship title charge.
A string of English clubs have been linked with 16-goal Cummings, including Bournemouth, Derby County, Wolves, Fulham, Leeds United and Rotherham, but Stubbs admits he is hopeful that the 20-year-old, whose current deal runs until summer 2017, will pen fresh terms.
Speaking ahead of today’s Championship clash with title rivals Falkirk, Stubbs said: “Jason is not going. It’s not ‘one in’ because of something else.
“We’ve not had contact from any football club for Jason.
“We’ve offered him a new contract, a very good contract and we’re hopeful we can get something done. But that won’t happen overnight.
“I feel this is the best place for Jason.
“I do feel he can play in the Premier League. So we’re not saying to him: stay here for the next four years.
“We’re just saying to him we want to reward you for what you’ve done and in 18 months Jason might not be here.
“He might have got to the level where we find it difficult to keep him.
“We want to bring players here, improve them then they go on to another level; back down to England either the Championship or Premier League and it’s a win-win situation.
“We get good money and they go on and further their career and play at a really high level.
“We want to think about ourselves but we do think about the players as well.”
Stokes is set to arrive at Hibs with a point to prove after only two appearances for Celtic this season and Stubbs reckons the 27-year-old will be desperate to seal a place in theRepublic of Ireland squad for this summer’s Euro Championship finals in France.
He added: “I think it’s a big factor in him coming here, to get back into the international fold and give Martin O’Neill a problem with his form.
“Martin knows about him and knows what his strengths are and hopefully we can provide Anthony with a platform that he can do what he does best, and that is score goals.”
Stubbs admits he has no worries about working with Stokes, despite the player arriving with a reputation as a troublemaker.
He added: “I’m not afraid to work with someone who has a bit of personality, probably because I was a rogue myself as a lad.
“We all have moments. I was brought up in a rough area in Liverpool. We had to look after ourselves or we wouldn’t have had any sweets, they’d be taken off us.
“I like the challenge, if it does prove a challenge.”