Hibs set for Isaiah Osbourne boost

Isaiah Osbourne, right, in action for Hibs against Hearts. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Isaiah Osbourne, right, in action for Hibs against Hearts. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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HIBS are set to welcome back midfielder Isaiah Osbourne for next weekend’s crunch relegation match at Dunfermline.

Osbourne hopes to end a month of injury misery by returning for the crucial trip to East End Park, where Hibs must gain a point to avoid dropping to bottom spot in the SPL.

Manager Pat Fenlon, whose team were set to take on Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup fourth round today, says the former Aston Villa enforcer has a chance to return for Hibs’ second successive visit to Fife in seven days – but captain Ian Murray will have to wait longer to return.

Osbourne, who suffered an abductor muscle injury, has missed the last four games, a sequence in which Hibs have lost three and drawn one.

“Ozzy is probably just a week away – I think he’d have a chance for the next week,” said Fenlon. “Ian Murray had an operation, so he’ll be out for the next two or three weeks. He’s had a couple of minor injuries in the hip area and hopefully this will resolve the problem once and for all.”

In addition to missing Murray in the coming weeks, Hibs will be without Graham Stack for at least the next fortnight after the first-choice goalkeeper sustained a calf injury in the Edinburgh derby defeat to Hearts.

Garry O’Connor, who has played and trained while carrying a toe injury for the past month, will be rested until he recovers. Despite the lengthening injury list at Easter Road, boss Fenlon says the situation presents an opportunity for the fit members of his squad to prove their mental strength.

“Our injury situation is not ideal, but that’s the way it goes,” said the Irish manager. “It will test the character and resolve of the rest of the squad.”