Defender Liam Fontaine is on the mend at Hibs

Liam Fontaine suffered back spasms. Picture: John Devlin

Liam Fontaine suffered back spasms. Picture: John Devlin

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Liam Fontaine is expected to be fit enough to return for Hibs’ next match, at home to Dumbarton on Saturday week.

The influential centre-back missed his first competitive game of the season at Queen of the South last weekend after suffering from back spasms.

Darren McGregor replaced the Englishman alongside Paul Hanlon in a two-man central defence and helped towards their eighth clean sheet of the season in a 3-0 win in Dumfries.

However, Fontaine’s problem is not serious and he will return to training on Monday with a view to being in the squad for the Championship visit of Dumbarton.

The defender was one of eight first-team players unavailable to head coach Alan Stubbs last weekend, although the majority are due to be back on the training pitch next week and in contention to face the Sons.

Islam Feruz, Fraser Fyvie, Jordon Forster and James Keatings are all expected to be back in the mix from Monday onwards, while long-term injury victim Farid El Alagui has already played for the development team this week. The Moroccan striker, however, is likely to be nursed back into the first team more gradually than others given the extent of his injury troubles over the last 13 months.

Former Hearts left-back Adam Eckersley is also set to join his new colleagues in full training on Monday after recovering from a knee operation.

However, fellow recent recruit, Henri Anier, is a week behind the Englishman in his bid for a debut as he battles to overcome a niggle that has hindered him since arriving on loan from Dundee United on transfer-deadline day. All going to plan, the Estonian would come into contention for first-team action towards the end of October.