Hibs boss Alan Stubbs believes he has covered all eventualities by strengthening his squad for the run-in to the end of the season with the signing of goalkeeper Conrad Logan.
Stubbs made his move to snap up the 29-year-old Irishman to beat today’s transfer deadline for free agents and declared his arrival on a short-term deal will add invaluable experience at an important time of the season. The Easter Road club face a hectic April in which they are scheduled to play their final eight Championship games as they chase a second-place finish which would potentially see them play four play-off matches in addition to their Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United.
Hibs will be without No.1 Mark Oxley for that trip to Hampden on April 16 after the goalkeeper picked up a one-match suspension, booked for a second time in the competition for time-wasting – although he insisted he had lost a contact lense – in the quarter-final replay triumph away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Oxley’s absence would have left Stubbs with only Finnish Under-21 goalkeeper Otso Virtanen – who has enjoyed only a few minutes of first-team action since arriving in Edinburgh during the January transfer window, that brief introduction coming in the Highlands – and teenager Sean Brennan.
Although Oxley remains Stubbs first choice, the head coach insisted Logan, who spent 14 years with Leicester City before being released last summer, will be fighting for his place alongside Virtanen.
Recalling how last season he lost Oxley to a back spasm and was forced to field the untried Kleton Perntreou, Stubbs said today: “We have a lot of big games coming up and Conrad’s experience will help all the goalkeepers as well as him competing for a place in the side. We are trying to pre-empt something possibly happening in three or four weeks time. Anything can happen as we found out with Mark last year. Otso is still young and learning and is one for the future although I wouldn’t have a problem putting him in. But Conrad will bring invaluable experience in the most important phase of the season. The chance to sign him came up and we have done that until the end of the season.”
Meanwhile, defender Paul Hanlon is set for a return to action against St Mirren on Saturday having sat out Hibs’ last five matches with a thigh injury. Stubbs said: “Paul has trained all week and comes back into contention.”