Pat FENLON will use loan deals to augment the Hibs squad in the January transfer window, with the addition of more experienced players his priority next month.
The Easter Road boss also said the club, joint-bottom of the SPL before today’s round of fixtures, will have to improve their standing before players out of contract at the end of the season commit their long-term future to Hibs.
Fenlon is remaining tight-lipped about both the part of the team he is looking to strengthen and where he will look for potential new signings in the meantime, but England and Ireland are perhaps his most likely scouting destinations.
“It’s a little bit difficult with the position we’re in and it’s difficult to transfer players in January anyway, so we may have to look at loaning players,” said the manager. “We need more experienced players than young – we need that balance with more experience. We have drawn up a shortlist and earmarked positions, but until things develop we will just have to wait and see over the coming months.”
As things stand, the Irishman faces a similar situation to that of predecessor Colin Calderwood last season, with the list of players whose contracts expire at the end of the current campaign running well into double figures, with captain Ian Murray and first picks such as Graham Stack and Garry O’Connor among them. Fenlon admitted such key players will only stay if Hibs climb the table or at least show promise of a brighter future.
“There have been no moves to tie up players because we need to know which position the club is in,” said Fenlon. “We need to be in a strong position before players commit longer-term. But, it’s not a priority for us just now to tie people up.”
In order that Hibs can progress, Fenlon has said his players need to lose the “big club” attitude that has skewed expectations of the set-up in recent years. The manager says his efforts are purely on ensuring that Easter Road plays host to SPL football, and not First Division fare, next season.
“Reputation doesn’t win matches,” said Fenlon. “We need to get that out of our mind, and the focus has to be on winning games. You can’t go on past reputations. It is a big club, but to remain a big club we have to remain in the SPL. People have to realise it’s about winning and picking up points – that’s the goal at present.”