Dan Carmichael was today undergoing a scan which is hoped will show the Hibs midfielder doesn’t need a second operation on the groin problem which has plagued him all season.
The 25-year-old has been dogged by the injury since arriving at Easter Road on a free transfer from Queen of the South last summer, starting just two games for the Edinburgh club and making just six appearances in the first half of the season.
He was finally forced to undergo surgery in mid-December after a series of alternative remedies which were hoped would cure the problem failed and his worries appeared to be behind him when he returned to step off the bench in the Scottish Cup win over Capital rivals Hearts, going on to start and play the full 90 minutes in Hibs’ next two matches against Alloa Athletic, in which he scored, and Dumbarton.
However, Carmichael has been forced to revisit his surgeon and the player will undergo an MRI scan in a bid to uncover exactly what is continuing to cause him discomfort.
Head coach Alan Stubbs said: “Dan saw the surgeon and it was positive news. We’re just waiting on him to have the scan to determine and clarify whether there is a problem in another area.
“We don’t think so, but we need the MRI. He’s had one operation and, if anything, it’s just a discomfort. We just need to see whether it is more than what we think it is. The scan will let us see exactly what is going on and we can treat it.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs revealed he’s deliberately refused to rush Dylan McGeouch back from his own groin problems with the promotion play-offs in mind. The former Celtic player has also had a troubled season, his last appearance, against Inverness in the Scottish Cup at the start of last month, lasting just 26 minutes.
But now Stubbs is convinced the 23-year-old is ready to play his part in the season’s finale which, while promotion is the priority, Hibs hope will also include a Scottish Cup final.
Admitting McGeouch is now “chomping at the bit”, Stubbs said: “We know how important the games coming up are and, if we were talking about the play-offs being at the end of this month, he would probably be back in by now.
“But because we have a bit longer we have sent him to a specialist in London, done a strengthening programme which he is sticking to and, just looking at him, he is in a different place at the moment. He knows he is getting stronger and he feels a lot more confident in his groin.”
Stubbs believes the fact the former Celtic player hasn’t completed a proper pre-season for two or three years has had an accumulative effect on McGeouch but believes the softly, softly approach will pay dividends. He said: “Sometimes when you have a weakness around the groin you think ‘can I get through it?’ With Dylan, you consider the type of player he is, always twisting and turning, stopping and starting. He gets through a lot of work in that area which puts pressure on him. Fingers crossed, now we have given him time off and taken our foot off the accelerator it seems to be doing the trick.”
Stubbs has seen Paul Hanlon, Danny Handling and Fraser Fyvie all return to his squad in recent weeks and revealed defender Liam Fontaine, who has missed the last two matches as he’s nursed a slight thigh strain, could be back for Saturday’s visit to relegated Alloa.