BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HIBERNIAN head coach Neil Lennon has revealed he is weighing up an emergency loan swoop in a bid to ease their injury woes ahead of tomorrow’s trip to face Morton.
The capital club have seen their midfield decimated in recent weeks, with John McGinn and Fraser Fyvie both absent until the new year, while luckless Dylan McGeouch is also expected to miss the trip to Cappielow after rolling his ankle.
Former Lyon starlet Enzo Reale trained with the Hibees, but failed to impress sufficiently to be offered a deal, while Italian schemer Fausto Rossi was also on Lennon’s radar.
However, while the Northern Irishman scours the market for free agents, he is also on the hunt for potential loan captures who could “hit the ground running” and bolster a squad down to its bare bones.
With Hibs able to bring in someone on a 28-day deal out-with the transfer window, there could even be an arrival in the next 24 hours.
He said: “[Emergency loan] is an option and something we are looking at just now. We would have to go domestic, but we are looking to get someone as soon as possible, maybe even in for Morton. We’ve made inquiries.
“James Keatings is back in training and, according to the medical team he is going to be in the squad, but Dylan McGeouch rolled his ankle on Tuesday and he could be out. We have a few midfielders out it obviously gives us a bit of a problem.
“The timing is tough with the difficult games coming thick and fast, with [John] McGinn and [Fraser] Fyvie out too. They had been playing very well together.
“We are literally down to 18 or 19 players at the moment, as well as the midfield issues, [Ofir] Marciano is out for three-to-four weeks after knee surgery on Monday. We are trying to keep the squad as healthy as we can. It is not a crisis but something we could do without.”
Hibs, who are running the rule over Cowdenbeath goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon, have also taken Polish stopper Maciej Dabrowski on trial as they search for reinforcements between the sticks.
The 18-year-old is currently on the books of Lech Poznan and, judging from his early displays in training, Lennon believes he has plenty of potential.
“He’s in on trial at the moment and has really impressed us,” lauded the Hibs boss. “He looks a good goalkeeper and has bags of personality, as well.”
There is also likely to be business done in January, with less focus on securing a signing who could make an immediate impact as a stop-gap.
With that in mind, Lennon refused to pour cold water on suggestion he would have an interest in frozen-out Celtic play-maker Kris Commons, with whom he enjoyed great success at Parkhead but has not played since April.
“January gives you a different option,” he noted. “There is the possibility of getting players who have maybe been deemed surplus to requirements at other clubs.”
Hibs’ need to strengthen is exacerbated by a resurgent Dundee United, who are currently on a 12-match unbeaten run and have drawn level with the Easter Road outfit at the summit of the Championship.
Lennon is adamant he is not surprised by the surge of Ray McKinnon’s side and urged his players to rise to the challenge – particularly given the incentive of new deals for those key players who are out of contract next summer.
“We have told players that they will be offered extensions,” added Lennon. “That will take place in the New Year and it will be regardless of promotion.
“But there is a clear incentive. I don’t deal with the financial side of things, but common sense would dictate that there would be a best and worst case scenario in terms of the deals we can offer them.
“We were expecting this challenge from United, they are one of the strongest teams in the league. But you can’t write off Falkirk, Raith or Morton. We were disappointed to lose to United but our consistency has been good our performances have been good.”