Neil Lennon expects captain David Gray to return for Falkirk opener as Benni McCarthy link is dismissed

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

Hibernian have been handed a massive injury boost after Neil Lennon confirmed that inspirational skipper David Gray is set to be in contention for their Championship opener against Falkirk.

The 28-year-old had to replaced just minutes after scoring the winning goal in Hibs’ 1-0 triumph over Brondby on Thursday evening following an awkward fall.

The left the field clutching his shoulder and Lennon admits he initially feared Gray could be out for several months.

davidgrayHowever, with the subsequent scans showing only a minor tear, the capital club’s Scottish Cup hero will miss next Sunday’s friendly at Shrewsbury but is expected to be fit to face the Bairns the following weekend.

Lennon said: “It was ‘grade one’, which is the most minimal damage you can do. He probably won’t be ready for Shrewsbury next week but we would hope he’ll be back training the week after that.

“He just took a pop on the shoulder with the way he landed against Brondby, but thankfully there was no dislocation or anything more serious than that.

“Our first fears were ‘this could the two or three months, here’, so to have him back in a little over 10 days will be positive.”

Meanwhile, Lennon has dismissed suggestions that Benni McCarthy is to join his coaching staff.

The former Porto striker, who lives in Edinburgh, was quoted by South African newspaper The Sowetan as saying “For now I will probably go to Hibs and work with a coach and a friend I worked with at Celtic a few years ago.”

Lennon added: “That is news to me, I don’t know where that has come from. I know Benni’s agent, Rob Moore, who also looked after Victor Wanyama, but I’ve not had any contact with Benni.”

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