Hibs boss backs Garry O’Connor to crank things up

Garry O'Connor celebrates with Leigh Griffiths

Garry O'Connor celebrates with Leigh Griffiths

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PAT FENLON revealed today that he’s hoping a fitter Garry O’Connor can bag the goals that secure Hibs’ SPL survival.

The Hibs manager has given the former Birmingham City hitman extra work in solo training sessions in a bid to increase his stamina.

And Fenlon believes that the heavier workload is beginning to pay off for O’Connor, who scored in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Inverness.

Prior to the game against Caley, O’Connor’s last strike was back in January against Dunfermline at East End Park, but Fenlon reckons the goals could soon be coming thick and fast if he keeps up the hard work.

The Easter Road boss said: “We took Garry out of the equation for the past two or three weeks to get him a little bit fitter.

“He has worked on that himself and we’re hoping that from now until the end of the season he’ll be able to pick up a few goals for us.

“We’re at the stage of the season where we need him fit and scoring goals. Hopefully he can help us climb the table.”

The victory at the Caledonian Stadium saw Hibs open up a six-point gap over bottom side Dunfermline but Fenlon cautioned that his side cannot afford to take anything for granted just yet.

“It has taken a little bit of the pressure off, but we’re still in a situation where we can’t afford to slip up,” said the manager. “We’ve got a decent record against the teams in the bottom half of the table. We’ve got to stay focused and not get too carried away because we’ve got to pick up as many points as possible to make sure we stay safe.”

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie last night apologised to the club’s supporters for the mistakes which led to a poor SPL campaign and urged them to turn out in numbers for the remaining games of the 2011/12 season.

Colin Calderwood was sacked in November following a poor run which saw him win just 12 games in 12 months but Petrie believes Hibs are now back on the right track with Fenlon at the helm and said: “Your team needs you – it’s as simple as that.

“If we do not rally to the cause no-one else will. Supporters will help determine how good an end to the season we have and the shape of the team for next season.

“We had a catastrophic 2011 to add to the problems in 2010. We made mistakes, I made mistakes. I am sorry. We have paid for these mistakes. We face the business end of the season with a stronger management team and a stronger playing squad than we had on the opening day.”

Meanwhile, Hibs today announced the extension of the deadlines for Season Ticket Membership 2012/13 offers.

A rush for tickets for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen through the club’s on-line, hotline and ticket office services means that those applying for the payment plan now have until noon on Sunday, April 8, while the Early Bird package is available until 5.00pm on Friday, April 13.