Lewis Toshney trains at Hibs and hopes to earn a deal

Lewis Toshney hopes to earn a contract at Hibs. Photograph: SNS

Lewis Toshney hopes to earn a contract at Hibs. Photograph: SNS

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Lewis Toshney is training with Hibs after failing to win a contract with Capital rivals Hearts – but boss Alan Stubbs today insisted his priority is to sign a new striker.

Former Celtic defender Toshney spent a spell on trial with Robbie Neilson’s squad but, with Callum Paterson returning to full training this week after injury, Jordan McGhee impressing and the signing of Adam Eckersley, the Jambos head coach felt he had plenty of cover at right-back.

In central defence, where the versatile 22-year-old can also play, he has Alim Ozturk and captain Danny Wilson with Brad Mackay as back-up.

Although Stubbs has brought in centre-back Liam Fontaine to battle it out with Paul Hanlon and Jordon Forster, Dundee-born Toshney would add further competition in that area while also providing cover for Hibs’ only right-back, David Gray.

Former Scotland Under-21 internationalist Toshney was released by Celtic at the end of last season but is also being monitored by Kilmarnock and Dundee, two clubs he has previously been on loan with.

However, should Toshney impress at East Mains, a contract could be dependent on the state of Stubbs’ budget after the arrival of a new frontman to replace long-term injury victim Farid El Alagui.

Although Stubbs had been considering adding to his strikeforce before El Alagui ruptured his Achilles tendon against Alloa, the revelation the 29-year-old will be out of action for up to six months has forced his hand with Paul Heffernan the only experienced hitman at Easter Road, backed up by teenagers Jason Cummings and Lewis Allan.

The transfer window may have closed on Monday but, as the Evening News revealed, Stubbs has turned to the lengthy list of free agents for a striker in the same mold as El Alagui, with the aim being to have him in place before Hibs next match, at home to Cowdenbeath a week tomorrow.

While unwilling to disclose the name of the individual he has in mind, Stubbs said: “We’ve looked both home and abroad and have identified a player we feel will do well for us. Hopefully we’ll have some news in the next couple of days.”

Meanwhile, Stubbs reported that El Alagui’s operation in Glasgow’s Ross Hall Hospital on Wednesday evening went well with no complications, the hope being that a “cutting edge” procedure used by the surgeon will help to speed his recovery.