BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Alan Stubbs insists forgotten-man Islam Feruz is free to return to Chelsea next month if he is unwilling to fight for a place in the Hibs first-team.
However, the Easter Road boss is adamant he wants to hold on to the controversial 20-year-old.
Feruz has failed to make a single start for the Hibees side since arriving from the Barclay’s Premier League giants on a season-long loan.
The former Celtic kid has made five appearances from the bench this term and is yet to ripple the net for his new club.
With Hibs boasting an embarrassment of riches in attack – including Jason Cummings, Farid El Alagui, Martin Boyle, James Keatings, Dominique Malonga and fit-again Henri Anier – speculation is mounting that Feruz could return to Stamford Bridge in January.
That would represent yet another poor loan stint for the youngster, who has spent underwhelming periods with OFI Crete and Blackpool. However, Stubbs has urged Feruz to stick around prove his doubters wrong.
He said: “If he decides that he wants to go back to Chelsea then that will be his decision, but my preferred option would be for him to stay and fight for his place. If he goes back it will be not through ourselves.
“We are not looking at anyone leaving, but I can understand that Izzy [Feruz] would have liked more game time. I have tried to mix it here and there when I could without affecting the balance of the team too much.
“That is the same with every player who has not been in the team, but every player needs to understand that when the team is winning they are the ones who deserve to keep the shirt.”