Gambian Pa Saikou Kujabi gets trial at Hibs

Pat Fenlon: Still working round the clock to bring players in. Picture: SNS

Pat Fenlon: Still working round the clock to bring players in. Picture: SNS

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HIBS boss Pat Fenlon today revealed he’s taken African star Pa Saikou Kujabi on trial at Easter Road, as he continues his bid to further strengthen his squad.

The 25-year-old Gambian international has impressed sufficiently to have his stay in Edinburgh extended, with Fenlon intending to watch him in action for a second time in a closed doors match against English club Carlisle United on Monday.

But, Fenlon disclosed, he doesn’t face a race against time to beat Tuesday’s transfer deadline should he decide to offer the left back a contract, as he’s a free agent having left German Second Division side FSV Frankfurt last summer.

Kujabi, who began his career in his homeland before switching to Austria and then Germany, has also had trials with Portsmouth, Queens Park Rangers and West Ham.

Fenlon said: “He played in a bounce game earlier in the week [against Partick Thistle] and did quite well. He’s stayed training with us and we have another chance to have a look at him when we play Carlisle.

“He’s a free agent so he’s not tied to a time.”

Fenlon admitted, however, that other targets he has in mind will have to be tied down before the transfer window slams shut in four days time, and like his three latest signings, George Francomb, James McPake and Tom Soares they are more likely to be loan deals.

He has, however, missed out on St Mirren skipper Jim Goodwin who has decided to stay with the Paisley club, penning a new two-year deal.

Arsenal kid Rhys Murphy is another who won’t be pulling on a green and white shirt, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker having picked up an injury and returned to London.

Fenlon said: “We spoke to St Mirren about him, he’s made a decision to stay where he is and we respect that. Rhys has got a bit of a shoulder injury and we haven’t got time to get players fit in the situation we are in.

“But we have other targets we have been working hard to get in, we are talking to one or two trying to get them over the line. It took a few weeks to get the boys in that we have. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of movement in relation to long-term contracts, it seems to be loans people are looking for.”

Fenlon has steadfastly refused to divulge the names of those he is chasing but he did declare that Dundee midfielder Gavin Rae “fitted the bill” when asked if the former Scotland star was on his radar. He said: “I watched Gavin play in Dundee’s Scottish Cup replay [against Kilmarnock who will now face Hibs] and he did quite well. He is one who fits the bill in relation to experience and his know-how and his knowledge of the league.”

Meanwhile, Hibs winger Ivan Sproule has been handed a two-match suspended ban by the SFA for his criticism of referee Craig Thomson following the Easter Road club’s defeat by Aberdeen in December. Thomson awarded the Dons a penalty when Aberdeen youngster Peter Pawlett went down under Sproule’s challenge, leaving Scott Vernon to score the only goal of the game from the spot.

Pawlett was later charged with diving by the SFA’s compliance officer Vincent Lunny and accepted a two-game suspension while a red card handed out minutes later to the Dons player by Thomson was rescinded on appeal. Sproule described Thomson’s performance as “one of the poorest” he had seen in a long time and “a shambles” while advocating demotion to the First Division for the official.

His ban will come into force if he criticises match officials before December 17 of this year.