James McPake and Tim Clancy race for Euro fitness

James McPake. Picture: SNS
James McPake. Picture: SNS
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HIBS stars James McPake and Tim Clancy have been training together in a bid to ensure they are fit for the club’s Europa League qualifiers.

The Easter Road squad were not due to return for pre-season until today after being given a few extra days off by manager Pat Fenlon.

However, defensive duo McPake and Clancy, who were ruled out at the end of the last campaign due to back and stomach/groin problems respectively, have been putting extra hours in at Hibs’ training ground since Monday.

With the Hibees facing the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie on July 18, both are desperate to get back playing.

The pair reported back to East Mains at the beginning of the week, along with a handful of other players who have been carrying knocks.

They have less than a month to prepare for their first competitive action and Fenlon is hoping both players will be able to take part in full training next week.

He said: “We wanted the boys who have been struggling a bit with little niggles started that bit earlier to give them as much time as possible.

“We had planned to have them back together as a group a little bit sooner but I thought that it might be more beneficial to give them a few more days off because it has been a short break for them.

“They’ve only had about three or three-and-a-half weeks off so I felt that it was more important to give them a proper rest and then we’d still have a month to prepare for the European games.

“James is okay. He has been doing a lot of work over the last few days. He’s been working hard, along with Tim Clancy and I am hoping they will both be fit enough to take some part in the training session today and that they will be back in full training quite quickly.

“They’re certainly putting in the effort and I have been very pleased by what I have seen of them so far. They are making good progress.”