BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
HIBERNIAN manager Neil Lennon is hopeful of sealing the loan signing of Israel keeper Ofir Marciano and is awaiting a response from old club Celtic over an approach for midfielder Liam Henderson.
Lennon has identified the need to bring in three new recruits after adding only experienced striker Grant Holt to the squad he inherited from predecessor Alan Stubbs this summer.
A goalkeeper was made a priority after Scottish Cup hero Conrad Logan was not offered a new contract and Mark Oxley was allowed to leave for Southend United.
Although former Raith youngster Ross Laidlaw has joined and impressed in the Europa League second-leg, the crucial mistake made by 22-year-old Finn Otso Virtanen in the first-leg defeat at home to Brondby only strengthened Lennon’s resolve to find a new number one.
Marciano, a 6’4” keeper currently with Ashdod in Israel who who has 10 caps for his country, spent last season on loan in Belgium with Mouscron-Péruwelz but Lennon is optimistic of attracting the 26-year-old to Easter Road.
He said: “We are pursuing a number of players and it’s come out in Israel that there is an interest in Ofir Marciano, and that is true, I’m not going to deny that.
“We are hopeful a deal can be done to bring Marciano in. It might not be this weekend but possibly early next week. If we can get that one over the line we’d be delighted.
“It would be a loan. He’s contracted to a club in Israel but he he’s been in Belgium and he’s back with his mother club now.
“I know his agent (Dudu Dahan) very well and he did some good stuff for me at Celtic over the years. It’s not guaranteed yet, by any means, but we’re hoping this deal can go through.”
Meanwhile, Lennon has revealed he is waiting to hear back from Celtic after bidding to bring Liam Henderson back to Easter Road.
The 20-year-old made a huge impact on loan at the club last season and played a pivotal role in the historic Scottish Cup triumph over Rangers in May, sending in the pin-point corners for the key late goals for Anthony Stokes and David Gray.
Having not been involved under the new Parkhead boss so far, the Scotland under-21 internationalist does not appear to be in Brendan Rodgers’ future plans but Hibs are awaiting the green light to see if a move is possible.
Lennon, who takes his team to face Shrewsbury Town in their final pre-season warm-up on Sunday, added: “With regards to Liam Henderson, there’s no further movement on that.
“We’ve made a call and basically that’s it, we’ve not had confirmation one way or the other yet. We’re waiting on Celtic getting back to us.
“Brendan will want to assess his squad and he’s probably still in the process of doing that, so I can’t second guess what will happen there.
“Anyway, I don’t think the squad here needs major surgery at all. We’re a little bit thin on the ground in terms of the size of the squad but I’ve been delighted with what I’ve seen so far.
“If I could add three more players I would be happy, but how long’s a piece of string? It may be more.”
Meanwhile, Lennon admitted Fraser Fyvie is likely to be “out for a few weeks” after receiving an injection in a knee injury and fellow midfielder Dylan McGeouch is a doubt for the Championship kick-off against Falkirk after picking up a hamstring strain.