NEXT month’s Scottish Cup final is set to be Leigh Griffiths’ last game for Hibs after Wolves boss Dean Saunders revealed he intends to invoke a one-year option on the striker’s Molineux deal.
Griffiths took his goals tally for the season to 25 with a glory double, including an extra-time winner, as the Capital side produced an astonishing fightback from 3-0 down against First Division Falkirk to claim a place in the final for the second year running.
Although the 22-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, Wolves hold an option to keep him for another year and Saunders revealed he’s been so impressed with Griffiths’ performances that he’ll be taking that up.
Saunders also disclosed he’d have already recalled Hibs-daft Griffiths from what, in effect, has been a two-year loan deal earlier this season, but was prevented from doing by transfer rules.
The Wolves manager only had a few days to decide on whether to agree another extension to Griffiths’ stay at Easter Road after replacing the sacked Stale Solbakken in early January, but, having done so, he’s been keeping a close eye as the former Livingston and Dundee star has continued to rack up the goals in a green-and-white shirt.
He said: “When he came back here after I had just taken over, I had to make a decision on what to do in a few days. I had to make a decision right then as the window was opening and closing and at the time he was about fifth-choice striker and I was looking to bring in someone new as well, so it was better for his career to have that loan extended. Otherwise he might have been sat here and played three games and not really got a chance. Hindsight is a great thing and if we had known what we know now, then we would have kept him. But I am looking forward to getting him back here in the summer for the start of pre-season
“I am really looking forward to working with him when he comes back. I have told him that if we could have got him back when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake broke his leg we would have, but when we extended his loan, we had to do it window to window.”
While the news will come as a hammer blow to Hibs fans, boss Pat Fenlon has constantly reminded them that, as a loan player, Griffiths’ future, as much as he’d like to keep him, is outwith his control.
His departure will cause Fenlon a major headache with Eoin Doyle having signed a pre-contract deal with English League Two outfit Chesterfield.