BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
NEIL LENNON has hailed loan star Florian Kamberi for taking a pay cut to make his switch to Hibs happen.
The capital club are expected to announce the capture of the towering Swiss under-21 internationalist on Wednesday after he agreed to join from Grasshoppers Zurich until the end of the season.
Kamberi, 22, was highly-rated as a youngster and enjoyed a stint with Bundesliga 2. outfit Karlsruher SC, where he worked under former Celtic and Dundee midfielder Mark Fotheringham. However, persistent injuries have derailed his progress in the last 18 months.
Nevertheless, the promising marksman – who had options in Germany and Austria – has dazzled Lenny during a 10-day trial with the Hibees and, should international clearance come through, he could make his debut against Motherwell.
Lennon lauded: “Florian brings us physicality. He is not a monster but he is a big boy and he plays well with his back to goal. He has decent mobility and links the play well. We have have had a good look at him and it is always good to see him close up rather than just in footage.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by what he’s brought and hopefully he can bring a different dimension to the way we play sometimes.
“He has taken a pay cut to come here so that speaks volumes for how much he wants to try to progress his career again. Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward again and I think that’s the way he is looking at it.
“He has really enjoyed being here and he has seen the derby and seen Celtic Park, he has seen us play Dundee and he has seen the facilities and the physicality and tempo of training and he has enjoyed it.”
Meanwhile, Hibs are expected to confirm that Anthony Stokes has left the club by mutual consent. The Irishman has been frozen out since breaking curfew during the club’s winter training camp in Portugal earlier this month.
Lithuania internationalist Deivydas Matulevicius has been told he is free to leave the club after one goal in 14 outings and Ross County have launched a deadline day bid for defender Liam Fontaine.
One man who will be staying at Easter Road is Danny Swanson, and Lennon has urged the gifted playmaker to recapture the form that made him a St Johnstone hero.
Swanson, 32, has endured a testing first campaign with Hibernian since joining his boyhood heroes last summer, with injuries and illness restricting him to just 12 appearances. Like Stokes, he was also disciplined after breaking curfew in the Algarve.
However, he has snubbed a loan move back to McDiarmid Park and has vowed to prove his worth.
Lennon, who also confirmed the club have not received any offers for John McGinn, continued: “Danny Swanson will stay after the transfer window.
“He had the opportunity to go out and play but he made it clear he wants to stay and fight for his place – maybe that’s what he needed. We were prepared to do the deal but Danny didn’t want to.
“Hopefully we will see the best of Danny in the second half of the season. He’s been unlucky with injuries but that has to stop. He needs to get to a high level of fitness where he is ready to play.
“He is training hard and he looks very motivated and I want him to stay at that level of motivation for the rest of the season. He had a great time at St Johnstone. I was really impressed with him. He’s a good player and he’s training well and I hope to see the best of him in the second half of the season.”
On the challenge posed by Motherwell, who claimed a creditable 1-1 draw against Hearts on Saturday, Lennon added: “They are playing well. They have got their mojo back. They’ve had two wins and a draw since the restart of the campaign and I expect a tough game.”