Pat Fenlon steps up winger search

Pat Fenlon feels he needs more options out wide
Pat Fenlon feels he needs more options out wide
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Hibs manager Pat Fenlon is to step up his search for a new winger after losing wide men Alex Harris and Paul Cairney to long-term injury.

However, Fenlon’s hopes of snapping up former Celtic star Paddy McCourt appear to have diminished after the Northern Ireland internationalist, who had been training with the Easter Road outfit, began a trial period with English Championship outfit Barnsley.

Fenlon is well aware that 29-year-old McCourt has options elsewhere, with the player, who is expected to eventually switch to Major League Soccer in the United States, being trailed by a number of other English clubs.

But, with the current MLS season due to end in October, Fenlon, who was once McCourt’s boss at Derry City, revealed he still hasn’t given up hope of persuading his former player to at least sign on with Hibs until a move across the Atlantic comes to fruition.

He said: “Paddy is a fantastic player. He has other options and I think he is doing a bit of training elsewhere at the moment but he is one we are talking to.”

Fenlon revealed, however, that McCourt isn’t his only target, the Irishman having others in mind should he fail in his efforts to persuade McCourt to stay in Scotland.

Although under pressure after his side followed up their Europa League humiliation at the hands of Malmo by losing their opening SPFL matches against Motherwell and Hearts, Fenlon again insisted he was happy with the squad he’s

assembled and although he’s already brought in eight players for the new season, he intends to add to that number before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

He said: “We have been looking to add a wide player for a while and obviously with Alex and Paul out it gives us a problem in those areas.”

Harris had an operation

yesterday having sustained a serious ankle injury on the opening day of the domestic season and, like Cairney who suffered a similar setback in training ahead of the second leg against Malmo, has been ruled out for at least three months.

Fenlon said: “Losing Alex is a blow, he gives us that wide area pace we perhaps lacked a bit without him and obviously with Paul also being out for a while we have lost two creative players we could do with at the moment.”

Although one poll on a fans’ message board indicated 95 per cent of supporters want him out in the wake of the derby defeat and talk of a protest before the visit tomorrow of Dundee United, Fenlon remained upbeat, adamant that while Hibs were suffering a hangover as a consequence of their Euro debacle, his side are not too far away.

He said: “I think in the two league games there’s been very little in them, a kick of the ball and unfortunately we have come out on the wrong side of the results. But in both we felt we should have got something out of them.

“Of course I think we can turn the corner, I would not be here if I did not think that.”

Meanwhile, Hibs Under-20s defeated Kelso United 4-2 in the East of Scotland League, their goals coming from Jason Cummings, Max Todd, David Paul and Gareth

McCaffrey.