Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has revealed he’s closing in on a deal to bring former Dundee United defender Keith Watson back to Easter Road.
The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at the Capital club, knowing his contract at Tannadice was coming to an end and wouldn’t be renewed. But, while his future appeared uncertain, Watson jumped at the chance to renew his acquaintance with his former Hibs team-mates by joining Stubbs’ squad at their pre-season training camp in La Manga.
And Stubbs insisted Watson wasn’t at the Spanish resort simply to make up numbers, saying: “There’s every chance that something will be done very soon.”
Stubbs has already made eight summer signings with Mark Oxley, Fraser Fyvie, Liam Fontaine, Martin Boyle and Lewis Stevenson all agreeing new deals while Dan Carmichael, James Keatings and Antonio Reguero have been recruited. Club captain David Gray, meanwhile, extended his contract by a year.
However, the head coach is determined to strengthen his squad further before the action gets underway and admits he was impressed by the versatility shown by Watson before he suffered a hamstring injury which brought his season to a premature end. Stubbs told the Evening News: “When Keith first came in it was to provide competition for places and he certainly did that when he got the opportunity, especially in a three at the back and as a wing-back. He was a really valued addition to the squad.
“He did well but unfortunately he picked up that injury and, along with Jordon Forster getting hurt in the final Championship game, it affected us in the end and how we could have played. Not how we played, but it affected the options we had available.”
Watson was a member of the party which travelled to La Manga in May as Hibs prepared for their play-off matches against Rangers and during that trip he expressed his desire to remain part of Stubbs’ future plans and now it looks as if that wish is about to be realised. Stubbs said: “He’s happy to be here, very keen to come back. He showed a real willingness.”