Hibs striker Farid El Alagui was today set to make his comeback in a Scottish Football Development League match against St Mirren Under-20s after spending six months on the sidelines.
The 30-year-old had scored four goals in his first six matches for the Easter Road outfit before suffering the injury as he landed awkwardly on the artificial surface at Alloa Athletic’s Indodrill Stadium at the end of August.
Since then, the former Falkirk forward, pictured, has undergone surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation programme before rejoining head coach Alan Stubbs’ squad for full training in the past few weeks.
While determined not to rush El Alagui back, Stubbs has been anxious to have him available for the closing games of the Championship season as Hibs chase a promotion play-off spot.
Adamant he also would not risk the French-born Moroccan star on an artificial surface on his return to action, Stubbs had considered arranging a closed-doors match for the striker.
Now Hibs have switched today’s clash against the Buddies from Spartans’ Ainslie Park – which boasts a “plastic” surface and has hosted all of their under-20 home matches so far this season – to their own East Mains training ground where the game will be played on grass.
If El Alagui comes through today’s match – he isn’t expected to feature for the full 90 minutes – he could feature again next week at the same level as Hibs travel to play Dundee United, who invariably host their games on a natural surface.
Meanwhile, fellow striker Dominique Malonga today assured Hibs fans he’ll be fit for tomorrow night’s Championship clash with basement side Livingston after limping out of the 4-0 Scottish Cup victory over Berwick Rangers with a knee injury. Malonga was seen with an ice pack strapped to his knee after being replaced ten minutes from time by Franck Dja Djedje.
But while revealing he felt “scared” when he went down after receiving treatment he said: “I feel okay, my knee was okay and I think I should be okay for tomorrow.”
While Hibs go into the rearranged game looking to retain second place ahead of Rangers, Malonga revealed he would take promotion over cup glory after being paired with Falkirk in the semi-finals.
He said: “The cup is a bonus for us and the fans and I hope we go to the final. I know for the fans the cup is a big thing. We will try to get through in the semi-final, we want to go to the final for the fans and maybe we win the cup.
“It’s exciting to be in with a chance of lifting silverware, but for me, more important is the play-off.”