Marvin Bartley has been backed to do the dirty work that will allow Hibs’ creative midfielders to flourish.
The 29-year-old former Bournemouth, Burnley and Leyton Orient player is in line to make his debut against Montrose in the first round of the League Cup today.
And Scottish defender Scott Cuthbert, who spent the last two seasons as a team-mate of Bartley at Orient, said: “Marv’s a really good player. He’s more of a combative midfielder than a creative one. He’s a real strong, fit, quick boy who breaks up the play and wins the ball back for you. He works really hard and is good in the tackle and in the air.
“He’s got a lot of energy and he’ll get about the pitch. He won’t just sit the whole game, but he’s certainly more of a defensive-minded midfielder. He’s played centre-back a few times in the past.
“He only scored a couple of goals in his time at Orient, but he’s not there to score goals. He’s in the team to allow the more creative players to play. He’s so strong and quick, that in one-v-one situations I always found him really hard to get past in training. He’s a reassuring presence and he’s always talking to you.”
Cuthbert, formerly of Celtic and now at Luton Town, believes the 6ft 2ins Bartley will provide a steely presence alongside the more fleet-footed likes of Fraser Fyvie, John McGinn, Dan Carmichael, Sam Stanton and Scott Allan. “Hibs have got a lot of creative players in midfield and Marv will fit in nicely there as the one who breaks the play up,” he said. “He’ll give the ball to the other players who can go and create things further up the park. I’d expect him to do well in the Scottish Championship.”
Bartley spent the last two years at Orient, after joining them from Burnley where he had been a regular under Eddie Howe. His first season with the London club culminated in a play-off final defeat, while the second one – last term – ended in relegation to League Two. In total, Bartley made 57 appearances in two years at Orient, with 34 of those as a starter.
“Eddie Howe signed him for Burnley, and we all know that he’s got a good eye for a player, so it speaks volumes for Marv,” said Cuthbert. “He’s played at some good clubs at a good level in the past, so it bodes well for him at Hibs. He did well at Orient. When he came into the team, initially on loan, we were flying at the top of the league so he didn’t play every week, but when he did play he did really well. Last season, when the team didn’t do so well, he was one of the standouts for us.”
Cuthbert remains in contact with Bartley and believes his friend will fit in perfectly to a tight-knit Hibs dressing-room. “Marv’s a top man,” said Cuthbert. “We had a good group of lads at Orient when he came in two years ago and all the lads liked him. He won’t be the centre of attention or playing pranks all the time, but he likes a laugh and a joke. He’ll certainly get involved with the boys’ banter. I would expect him to become one of the leaders in the Hibs changing room. He’s quite loud about the place and he’s obviously got a good bit of experience from some of the clubs he’s been at.”