Hibs boss to add players in January window

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie, centre, holds the Scottish Cup and chief executive Leeann Dempster, right, holds the Ladies Scottish Cup with fellow directors before the clubs AGM last night. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Hibs chairman Rod Petrie, centre, holds the Scottish Cup and chief executive Leeann Dempster, right, holds the Ladies Scottish Cup with fellow directors before the clubs AGM last night. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Neil Lennon is intent on strengthening his Hibs squad with the addition of “one or two” new faces in the January transfer window.

The head coach raved about both the quality and character of players at his disposal as he addressed around 250 shareholders at the club’s annual general meeting at Easter Road last night.

However, he confirmed that efforts are ongoing behind the scenes to source potential January recruits who can help the team through the business end of their push for promotion to the Premiership.

Lennon and his head of recruitment Graeme Mathie attended the FAI Cup final between Cork City and Dundalk in Dublin on Sunday and will take in another match this evening as they continue to streamline their list of targets.

“There’s always availability in January and we’d like to add one or two to the squad if we can,” said Lennon. “We’re actively looking at players and looking at positions we think we can maybe strengthen. It’s an ongoing process.

“We have our eye on one or two positions we’d like to strengthen for the run-in. I’m happy enough with the squad but as a manager you’re never totally happy. You’re always looking for better and obviously January is a good opportunity to try and improve the squad.”

Lennon has no plans to offload anyone in the upcoming window. “I wouldn’t have thought any would leave in January,” he said. “I hope not anyway. I like the squad and the balance we have at the moment.”

The manager also told the assembled shareholders that he has no doubt Jason Cummings will soon rediscover his scoring touch and insisted he has no regrets about turning down a seven-figure offer from Peterborough in the summer for the off-form hitman. After dropping to the bench in recent weeks, the 21-year-old has played only three minutes of his team’s last three matches.

“Jason’s not in the team at the moment but he’s already got eight goals and he will get more,” said Lennon. “He’s just a little bit off-colour at the minute and just needs to find a little bit of form and confidence again. It was important that we kept him because without his contribution, we probably wouldn’t be sitting at the top of the league. As a young player, you get peaks and troughs. He’s just having a little dip. It’s not nice sitting on the outside looking in, but hopefully that will reinvigorate him.”

At what was an understandably harmonious AGM in light of Hibs’ Scottish Cup triumph in May and their current status as on-form Championship leaders, Lennon and other members of the football department, such as head of football operations George Craig, head of academy coaching Eddie May, head of performance analysis Calvin Charlton and recently-recruited head of football science and medicine Nathan Ring, delivered insightful presentations about their respective roles. Both Lennon and May reported that the academy is in excellent shape, with several exciting prospects coming through the ranks.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster concluded a relatively jovial evening by thanking her staff members, whom she described as among the best in Britain in their respective fields, and declaring that she felt the Scottish Cup triumph had “flicked on a light within the football club”. Unlike previous AGMs, there were no notable bones of contention, aside from supporters raising concerns about the way they felt sections of the media and Rangers went overboard in their criticism of Hibs in the wake of the trouble after the Scottish Cup final.

Meanwhile, Dylan McGeouch, who has been battling hamstring trouble recently, and Cummings, are set to play in today’s development league match against Kilmarnock at Oriam at 2pm.