BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
NEIL LENNON has demanded more from strike-pairing Jamie Maclaren and Flo Kamberi after admitting the duo are toiling for confidence.
Australia internationalist Maclaren has found the net just once in 11 appearances since returning to Easter Road for a second loan stint from Darmstadt, and was replaced after an hour in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Dundee.
Kamberi, meanwhile, has endured three games without a goal and the partnership – which was so devastating at the tail end of last season – is yet to click this term.
“Jamie [Maclaren] needs to do more for the team, without the goals.” said Lennon. “He’s a poacher and Saturday, of all days, was a great opportunity to get on the score-sheet, with the amount of ball we had and the amount of good chances we created.
“Maybe he’s just having a shortage of confidence, but it’s not terminal. It’s not the end of the world.
“Normally I’d be ranting and raving but I’m not going to. We need to manage the situation as best we can and get the best out of the players rather than constantly go after them.
“My two strikers are looking short of confidence at the minute. They are not really contributing, but we’ll work on that. We know what they’ve got, they are good players but they aren’t bringing enough to the team at the minute and when you don’t have that, then it’s always a struggle.”
Hibs are currently on a five-game winless streak and Lennon cut a frustrated figure after seeing his side throw away a two-goal lead against the Dee at the weekend.
Nevertheless, he was determined to find the silver lining ahead of a tough trip to face Kilmarnock this weekend and a mouth-watering Festive fixture list that includes encounters against Celtic, Hearts and Rangers twice.
“The positive from the weekend is that we went up a place and have closed the gap on the teams around us,” Lennon told Hibs TV. “We have a difficult game next week, but one we can win if we apply ourselves well – and then a great run of games to look forward to.”
Meanwhile, Hibs have invited young midfielder Tommy Block back for a second trial period next month after his first stint was derailed by illness.
Block, 18, trained with the Easter Road outfit last week and found the net during a bounce game. However, his efforts to win over boss Lennon were scuppered when he was sidelined for two days due to an untimely stomach bug.
Nevertheless, the Bognor Regis Town youngster has done enough to earn a second call to Edinburgh.
“I thought I did well initially but then had a stomach bug and was confined to my hotel room. There was no way I could train or play,” Block explained. “Hibs were brilliant. They really looked after me while I was unwell and helped me get through it.
“I wasn’t sure if being unwell during the few days I was there would have a negative impact on my chances of impressing them. But they were brilliant, telling me not to concern myself too much about being ill.
“Now I have been contacted about going back in December, which is great news for me. I remain hopeful that once again I can impress.”