Hibs go down to the wire on transfer deadline

Jorge Claros

Jorge Claros

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Hibs manager Pat Fenlon will use every minute leading up to tonight’s transfer deadline to attempt to strengthen his squad.

Fenlon cast his eye over seven trialists in a bounce game yesterday and is keen to augment all areas of the team, with a new centre back a priority.

Hibs, who lie second bottom of the SPL, will aim to bring in at least two new faces before the transfer window shuts, with Honduran internationalist Jorge Claros and Northern Irish midfielder Michael O’Connor near the top of their hitlist.

The Easter Road club are understood to be in pole position to beat Rangers to the signing of 26-year-old midfielder Claros, with the internationalist expected to secure a loan deal.

Claros, known as “The Pitbull”, is contracted to Motagua, the same club from which Celtic signed Emilio Izaguirre, and could join Hibs on loan for the remainder of the season. The player survived a car-jacking incident in June last year after being shot in the head, and has made a miraculous recovery to resume a successful career. After a two-week trial at Rangers, Claros was the subject of a bid by the reigning SPL Champions that was described as “absurd” by his club, who are believed to value the player at around £800,000.

A Motagua statement read: “Jorge Claros is staying in Scotland with Hibernian FC. He has trained with his new team and will sign pending a work permit.”

A deal for Claros would represent a significant coup for Hibs, who yesterday missed out on Dundee midfielder Gavin Rae, who chose to join his hometown club Aberdeen.

“I talked to Hibs on Thursday down at their training ground,” said 34-year-old Rae. “But, obviously when it comes down to between Hibs and Aberdeen, I will choose Aberdeen. My family are from there and I wanted to move back.”

O’Connor, of English League One side Scunthorpe United, has been the subject to a bid by Hibs, his club’s manager Alan Knill revealed today. The 24-year-old Northern Ireland internationalist began his career at Crewe and trained at Hibs’ East Mains base in April 2009 ago after then-manager Mixu Paatelainen handed the 6ft 1in midfielder a trial.

Current Hibs boss Fenlon ran the rule over a host of trialists in a training ground fixture against Carlisle United yesterday, with South African Matty Pattison and Pa Saikou Kujabi having featured alongside several more new faces. Leigh Griffiths scored in the 1-1 draw.

Striker Akpo Sodje, who turns 32 today, has been told by Hibs he is free to find another club. The former Charlton striker has scored once in 16 appearances this season and was recently on trial with Belgian club KVC Westerlo.

Young defender Scott Taggart, who was on loan at Stranraer until Christmas, has rejoined the Third Division high-flyers on loan. He scored in the Stair Park side’s victory over Elgin City on Saturday.