Hibs boss Neil Lennon has revealed he’s going to give former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant every chance to win himself a contract at Easter Road.
The much-travelled 34-year-old has been training with Lennon’s squad for almost a fortnight and played 58 minutes of their first pre-season friendly against Dunfermline as a trialist, hitting the woodwork and scoring the second goal in a comfortable 4-0 victory at East End Park.
Now Lennon plans to give Pennant, who had also trained with the Capital club last season before opting to join Bury, another run-out in Lewis Stevenson’s testimonial match against English Championship outfit Sunderland on Sunday and possibly Tuesday night’s final pre-season game with Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park.
Adamant that Pennant still has at least two or three years in him, Lennon said: “He has good ability and has trained very well since he came in. We wanted to have a look at him tonight and will do so again on Sunday at some stage and possibly on Tuesday as well.
”We want to have a good look at him. He is 34 but still has a few years in him. He has had an exceptional career. He has a good personality but it is early days before we make any decision on him but he has done very well. I was very pleased with him.”
Lennon plans to bring in at least “three or four new faces”, admitting compensating for the loss of top scorer Jason Cummings was a priority but insisting he was very happy with the squad already at his disposal while pointing out the transfer window is open for another seven weeks.
He said: “It’s the process of squad building. Everyone wants everything done now but it’s easier said than done. We have until August 31 to finalise the squad so we have plenty of time. I am very pleased with the players we have brought in and the quality of player we have brought in is very high. Allied to the players we already have, it augurs well. Danny Swanson, Efe Ambrose, Efe Marciano and Simon Murray are very good players who bring something different. We have to bring in players in the forward area and that’s what we will be doing.”
Lennon was equally happy with what he saw at East End Park, Danny Swanson opening the scoring after 24 minutes before second-half goals from Pennant, Martin Boyle and Oli Shaw rounded off a comfortable victory.
He said: “It was a very good performance considering it was their first time out since the start of May. We made a lot of changes at half-time – that was the plan to give everyone a run out. I was very pleased with the quality of performance.”
Pars boss Allan Johnston was naturally disappointed with his side’s display but claimed the half-time introduction of midfielder John McGinn had been key to Hibs eventually running away with the match. He said: “I thought we looked really flat. McGinn came on, ran the show and set up three goal which shows that bit of quality stands out a mile. We did not have that.”