Boss Stubbs thrilled with strength of Hibs attack

Farid El Alagui, right, is recovering from a minor knee operation

Farid El Alagui, right, is recovering from a minor knee operation

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Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs is excited by the array of striking options he will have at his disposal once Farid El Alagui recovers from a minor knee operation.

Jason Cummings, Dominique Malonga and new recruit James Keatings all hit double figures in last season’s Championship, while it seems safe to assume that El Alagui would have done likewise had most of his campaign not been written off by a serious Achilles injury.

The former Falkirk, Brentford and Dundee United forward is currently working his way back to fitness following an operation on a niggling knee problem which afflicted him towards the end of last season.

He should be able to resume full pre-season training with his colleagues in the next couple of weeks and is expected to be ready for action by the time the new season kicks off.

With Franck Dja Djedje having left following an underwhelming stint at Easter Road and the versatile Martin Boyle also in the mix, Stubbs is happy with his attacking contingent and looking forward to being spoilt for choice in that area of the team.

“I’m really happy with the strikeforce,” he told the Evening News. “We need to see how Farid comes back after his operation but I’m really happy with Jason, Dominique and James.

“James will create real competition up front and give us more quality in the striker’s area. We’ve know he can score goals – his pedigree speaks for itself. The way we play and the chances we create, he’s certainly going to get opportunities. He’ll also bring more pace and directness to the team, which is something I really wanted to add.”

Keatings, the ex-Hearts striker, and Cummings, last season’s Championship top scorer, both appear to have similar attributes, but Stubbs is adamant they could operate together in a front two if required. He said: “I think all of those strikers could play with each other. They could all complement each other. They’ve all got their own attributes and different ways of playing.”

Stubbs hasn’t ruled out using Boyle, who signed a two-year deal last week, as an out-and-out striker even though he was often deployed in other areas during his stint on loan from Dundee last season.

“Boyley played as a wing-back in some games, he played in a front three and he’s also played in a two so he gives us variety,” said Stubbs. “It’s good for me to know that he can play in a number of positions. He will also bring pace.”