DANNY HANDLING is hopeful he still has a future at Hibs – despite accepting he faces an even bigger fight to force his way into Neil Lennon’s thoughts next season.
Handling, who is entering the final year of his contract, has suffered a nightmare spell with injuries in recent times and saw out the campaign on loan at Raith Rovers after being frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities.
The 23-year-old suffered cruciate ligament damage in a pre-season match with Berwick Rangers in 2015 and picked up a fresh knee injury at the start of this term.
When he worked his way back to fitness, the closest he could get to top-team action was the bench, but he subsequently proved he was over his injuries with seven matches on loan at Raith.
The former Scotland under-21 cap acknowledges that the capture of Danny Swanson could force him further down the pecking order at Easter Road but he is determined to give it his all in a bid to impress Lennon.
He said: “I’d like to think I’d have a future at Hibs.
“Obviously, they’ve done really well this season and got themselves back into the Premiership.
“And it’s going to be even harder to get involved, with the talent they’ve got and the talent they’re going to bring in, probably.
“Bringing in Danny Swanson just shows the intent they’re going into next season with.
“They obviously want to do well, so it’s going to be even harder for myself to get into the squad.
“But I’ll go back for next season and give it my best shot to try to get into the plans, and if it’s not happening then I’ll try and get out [on loan].”