PAT Fenlon has urged Hibs fans to be patient as he embarks on his radical overhaul of the Easter Road squad, insisting he was “making progress” in pursuit of new signings.
The Hibs boss has promised major changes in the wake of a season which saw his side finish second bottom of the SPL while the club’s board conceded the “devastating” Scottish Cup final defeat by arch-rivals Hearts reinforced the scale of the rebuilding task facing him.
Thus far, Fenlon’s moves have centred on releasing players at the end of their contracts, goalkeeper Graham Stack being the latest to be informed he won’t get a new deal following similar news for club skipper Ian Murray and youngsters Sean Welsh and Scott Taggart.
The loan signings brought in by Fenlon have also returned to their parent clubs although the Irishman has made no secret of the fact he’d like to see some of them back in Edinburgh next season with Coventry City defender James McPake and Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths at the head of those supporters want to see pulling on a green and white shirt again.
Stack, who missed the Cup final with a thigh injury, has acted angrily to being told his three-year stay at Easter Road in now at an end, claiming Fenlon had told him he had a future at the club, and he is likely to be followed out the door by others with speculation focusing on Garry O’Connor and Mark Brown.
Fenlon, though, insisted he wouldn’t discuss names until those individuals had been informed personally and he’s adopting the same approach when it comes to possible targets with Motherwell defender Tim Clancy the latest to be linked with a move to the Capital. Pointing out he can’t sign anyone until the summer transfer window opens on June 1, Fenlon said: “A lot of changes need to be made in relation to the football club. Groundwork has been done and we are making some progress but these things do not happen overnight, it takes a bit of patience.”
The task of identifying potential signings has been ongoing for a number of months, Fenlon having revealed several weeks ago that until the relegation issue was resolved, he was unable to make any concrete approaches.
The days immediately following the end of a season rarely see much transfer activity, as managers and players alike head off on holiday. Even when the window opens, there isn’t a rush of moves made as everyone weighs up their options.
Nevertheless, Fenlon said: “We put in a lot of work in relation to making sure we stayed up but also looking to next season as well, although it was difficult to talk about that when we were still playing games.
“The work has been going on for two or three months but now clubs are finished, people are on holiday. However, we’ve been working hard over the last few days trying to get some players and we will get there.”
• HIBS legend Peter Cormack will be signing copies of his autobiography From the Cowshed to the Kop at Waterstones at Ocean Terminal on Saturday at 1pm, and then at the book chain’s branch in Livingston at 3.30pm.