Alan Stubbs is unlikely to be recruiting a new left-back during the current transfer window because he feels Hibs already have enough cover for Lewis Stevenson.
The Easter Road boss, who is focusing his attentions on adding another striker to his squad before Tuesday’s deadline, explained that he is content with the back-up options available should he ever have to do without his dependable left-back.
Stevenson is the only senior left-back on the books at Easter Road and has started 50 of Hibs’ 52 competitive matches since Stubbs arrived at the start of last season. But just as new recruit Darren McGregor and his fellow centre-back, Jordon Forster, can cover for David Gray at right-back, Stubbs insists he would have no qualms about fielding left-footed centre-backs Paul Hanlon or Liam Fontaine at left-back if required.
“We’ve got a couple of options at left-back,” he explained. “Paul Hanlon can play there and I wouldn’t have any problem with Fonts playing there. Louey is a durable little sod and he keeps churning out. I have the utmost respect for him and the way he goes about his job. He does smashing for us but if something did happen, we wouldn’t have a lack of options. We might not have a natural left-back to cover but we have players who can play left-back.”
Stubbs doesn’t anticipate any first-team players leaving before the transfer window closes on Tuesday, although the door remains open if midfielder Sam Stanton, who has slipped down the pecking order, decides to depart. “I am not expecting anybody to go but you can never say never,” he said. “I would expect one or two clubs to enquire about players, but we’ll decide what to do if that happens.”
The head coach is keen to send highly-regarded development full-backs Callum Crane and Aaron Dunsmore out on loan. “We could probably do with Callum and Aaron getting some experience,” said Stubbs. “There is a possibility with those two [going on loan].”
Stubbs is keen to see his side kick-start their Championship campaign today, but anticipates a tough test at home to a Raith Rovers side who have won five of their seven competitive games under new manager Ray McKinnon this season.
“I know Ray pretty well,” said Stubbs. “We were on our Pro-Licence together and he’s a good coach. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s had a good start. It will be a tough game, I watched them beat Hamilton on Tuesday [in the League Cup] and they’ve got some good players. They’re well organised, they’ve got energy and they look to get the ball forward early and get in behind teams. It will be a difficult game but I’m sure it will be a difficult game for Raith as well.”
Meanwhile, the Evening News has learned that Wigan Athletic striker Billy McKay, who was linked with a move to Hibs this week, is set to sign for Dundee United.