PAT FENLON believes the desire of loan stars Leigh Griffiths, Ryan McGivern and Jorge Claros to stay at Hibs will be the club’s trump card as they bid to keep the trio at Easter Road beyond January.
Hibs are locked in talks with Wolves, Manchester City and Honduran outfit Motagua, the respective parent clubs of the players, in an attempt to extend the loan deals which expire at various points next month, but, as yet, no decisions have been made.
Fenlon has made it clear retaining top scorer Griffiths, Northern Ireland defender McGivern and midfielder Claros are key to his thoughts for the rest of the season, although he has insisted he has contingency plans should Hibs be unsuccessful in persuading their parent clubs to allow them to remain in Edinburgh.
The Irishman admitted it has been frustrating to have negotiations drag on, but he reckons the players’ own voice on the issue could reward Hibs’ patience.
He said: “We’re in discussions with their clubs in relation to extending their loans until the end of the season. We are trying to do as much as we can, but the final decision will be with their parent club.
“As frustrating as that is for us, we’ve got to accept that’s just the way it is when you have players on loan. Realistically, they will make the final call.
“We are working really hard and I think the key is that the three players want to stay, which is really important. They have made it clear that they want to be here and that’s important for us.
“In all their cases they are all playing and getting plenty of football. I think that’s the reason why they came here in the first place and why their clubs agreed to let them come here to get some game time.”
Fenlon is aware some fans query the wisdom of signing players on loan, given the fact they can “be here and gone tomorrow” with their ultimate allegiance being to the club to which they are signed. He argued, however, that the financial state of the game in Scotland means clubs have to use their available budgets as prudently as possible.
He said: “I think it is difficult, particularly for clubs in Scotland, as probably outwith Celtic none of us have any money. We don’t have the money to go out and buy players. We’ve got to be prudent with what we do and look at where we can get the best deals and again with the loans, particularly if they are only here for a short term from window to window.
“Again, that sometimes has an impact on the player. He may want to come for a period of time to see if he can get something better, so you just have to accept that and work with it as best you can.
“As I’ve said, it’s key for us that the three players stay, so it is now about us making sure we can try to do that.”
n HIBS have had two SPL matches in February moved for live TV coverage.
The home clash with St Johnstone has been switched to Monday, February 11 with a 7.45pm kick-off, while the
Hibees’ trip to Dundee United has been put back 24 hours to Sunday, February 24 with a 4.30pm start. Both matches will be broadcast live by ESPN.