Crocked Hibs striker Farid El Alagui will begin the long haul back to full fitness within days following a successful operation on his ruptured Achilles tendon, Easter Road boss Alan Stubbs revealed today.
El Alagui underwent a new procedure in a Glasgow hospital which, it is hoped, will halve the time he’ll be out of action, although he still faces between four and six months on the sidelines.
But the 29-year-old is already talking of when he’ll be back, according to Stubbs, who spoke to him following his surgery. The head coach, who has brought in Paris-born striker Dominique Malonga to compensate for the loss of the former Falkirk and Brentford player, said: “The surgeon who carried out the operation was happy, everything went to plan.
“Farid himself was very upbeat and was speaking about how much he’s looking forward to playing again. That day, of course, is a long way off at the moment. We’re not setting any target dates, simply ensuring Farid gets the very best of treatment. He’ll have a few days to recover from the op and then his rehabilitation will begin.
“Farid is obviously facing a lengthy spell out but he’s being very positive about it all.”
Meanwhile, defender Paul Hanlon has admitted he faces a fight to regain his place in Stubbs’ side after recovering from the knee injury which forced him out of Hibs’ last four matches. News that the former Scotland Under-21 skipper had a problem in the same knee which required surgery and resulted in him sitting out the final ten games of last season prompted speculation that he’d suffered a recurrence of the original injury.
It was, however, diagnosed not as further cartilage trouble but a bruised bone in the knee enough, though, to leave him looking on as Hibs managed just one win in his absence, during which Bristol City defender Liam Fontaine arrived at Easter Road to stiffen competition for places at the back.
Having proved his fitness by playing in this week’s Under-21 victory over Dunfermline, 24-year-old Hanlon insisted he’s now determined to win back his place.
He said: “It’s been frustrating, but it’s the same for everyone if you are injured or left out of the match-day squad. You are praying the boys can get a result and in the last few weeks it’s not happened.
“There’s a new centre-half with Liam coming in, I’ve got injured, and now there is a bit of competition. I worked hard against Dunfermline. It was good to get 90 minutes under my belt and hopefully that gives the manager something to think about going into the Cowdenbeath game.”
“Competition for places is healthy for everyone. The manager has added a new midfielder [Dylan McGeouch] and a striker [Jake Sinclair] to the squad, so there is competition throughout and hopefully that can get the best out of everyone.”
• Hibs today confirmed coach/scout Steve Marsella has left the Easter Road club with immediate effect.
Marsella joined Hibs last November as part of former boss Terry Butcher’s backroom staff along with assistant Maurice Malpas. both of whom were sacked following relegation to the Championship.