Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has warned Easter Road fans not to expect to see striker Farid El Alagui back in Championship action any time soon.
Having seen his first season at the Edinburgh club wrecked by a ruptured achilles tendon, the 30-year-old has spent the first couple of months of this campaign recovering from further surgery.
But he made an impressive return to action during the week, playing for 60 minutes in a closed doors match against Dundee in which he scored twice and saw another effort deflected into the visitors’ net.
The news sparked speculation that the former Falkirk hitman could make his first team return when Hibs face Dumbarton at Easter Road in a fortnight’s time following next weekend’s international break.
El Alagui will continue his comeback by travelling to Dingwall for Tuesday’s development league game against Ross County, but Stubbs insisted the French-Moroccan is “not close” to being considered for first team duties.
He said: “Farid has played 60 minutes but he is still a few good games away. He has been out a long time and to think he is back after 60 minutes would be wrong.
“It would be the wrong thing for the fans to think and wrong for Farid as well, he is still a good few weeks away from being with the first team.”
However, the head coach had better news on the injured quartet of Fraser Fyvie, James Keatings, Jordon Forster and Islam Feruz, expecting them all to resume full training at the beginning of next week and, should there be no further problems, they woud likely come into his thoughts for the visit of Dumbarton.
Latest signings Adam Eckersley and Henri Anier are a little behind those four with Stubbs anticipating them being available a couple of weeks later.
Meanwhile, although admitting he is “mindful” of the 11 point gap which has opened between his side and table-topping Rangers, Stubbs insisted his entire focus is on Hibs continuing their current run of good form although he conceded the 1-1 draw against St Mirren which brought a streak of five straight wins without conceding a goal was disappointing.
Last season both Hibs and Rangers were left trailing as Hearts ran away with the league title but asked of the danger of being left in the Ibrox club’s wake he said: “Rangers have started really well but there’s no point us worrying about us and them. We obviously want to get promoted and we need to make sure we put as much pressure as possible on them.
“We are very mindful of Rangers, but yuo cannot keep worrying about them. We have to worry about our own business and we know we will be there or thereabouts if we keep doing what we know we are good at.”