Chris Dagnall ‘can ease burden’ on Jason Cummings

Liam Henderson leaps on Jason Cummings after the striker's goal against Raith. Pic: Jane Barlow

Liam Henderson leaps on Jason Cummings after the striker's goal against Raith. Pic: Jane Barlow

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Marvin Bartley has backed his old mate Chris Dagnall to ease the burden resting on the shoulders of Hibs striker Jason Cummings.

The 20-year-old made it 16 for the season as he netted the only goal of the game as the Easter Road side bounced back from defeat by Championship title rivals Rangers to beat Raith Rovers.

Chris Dagnall

Chris Dagnall

But Alan Stubbs’ side have scored just six goals in their last five matches, three of them coming from Cummings while his fellow strikers Dominique Malonga and James Keatings have managed just 12 between them in all competitions so far.

Bartley believes the arrival of his former Leyton Orient team-mate Dagnall – who was top scorer for the London club last season – from Indian outfit Kerala Blasters will take the pressure of Cummings.

Red tape prevented Dagnall facing Raith but he is expected to be part of Stubbs’ squad for Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie against the Kirkcaldy club and Bartley is convinced the 29-year-old will add a different dimension to Hibs’ strikeforce.

He said: “Chris is a very good player. I played with him last season and he got a lot of goals. He works hard, plays off the shoulder and, although he’s small, he’s strong. He has a bit of everything and he’ll definitely bring something different.

“Hopefully, when he gets clearance he and the other boys will complement each other. We cannot just rely on Jason to score the goals so hopefully the other strikers and others can chip in and I think Chris will help in that regard.”

Although the win over Raith might have been by the narrowest of margins, Bartley insisted victory by any means was the over-riding concern.

He said: “The gaffer said no matter how you win it, just win it. The win was vital, coming back to do that after the disappointment of Rangers. The gaffer said ‘do you want to stay in the title race?’ and I think the boys responded.

“We know we have to win every game to keep the pressure on Rangers and hope they will slip. We have to grind out results like that. The lads were dead on their feet but we got the three points which was vital and we know we are going to have to win more games that way this season.”

It was Bartley’s first appearance in a month, the midfielder having suffered a back spasm and, although he admitted he’s perhaps come back a little sooner than expected, he insisted it was a case of “needs must” with Fraser Fyvie suspended.

He said: “Fraser is a good player but it was a chance for me to show what I can do, to put in a whole-hearted performance and see what happens.

“We have a big squad. You can’t just throw the toys out of the pram, you have to get on with it and be ready for the opportunity.”