ALAN STUBBS today insisted Sam Stanton remains firmly in his plans despite the Hibs midfielder having enjoyed just five minutes of first-team action since the end of August.
The 21-year-old was one of three players Stubbs had considered sending out on loan although only one, Alex Harris, has done so with Danny Handling suffering a torn cruciate ligament in a pre-season friendly at Berwick.
Although Stanton remains part of the Easter Road squad, he’s made only six appearances so far – just two of them starts – while his last involvement was a cameo appearance towards the end of the 3-0 win over Queen of the South at the beginning of the month.
Stanton is currently ruled out with a thigh strain sustained at the end of last week but head coach Stubbs, who now has virtually a full squad at his disposal for the first time this season, said: “Of course, Sam is still in my plans. All the players are in my plans.
“There was a little bit of interest in Sam just before the transfer deadline that did not come to anything. I spoke to Sam a couple of days later to emphasise that he was here and, if he was doing really well, then he’ll be in my thoughts. It’s the same with every player. Unfortunately, I can only pick eleven and I will pick what I see as the best team for any particular game and then go on to choose the substitutes.
“There are no easy decisions but it’s tougher when you have more players, while it’s good to have that strength in depth. I can’t sit here and make excuses.
“It’s competition for places and ultimately we are in a sport where competition for places is always fierce and, when you have good players and a good group as I have, that emphasises that point even more.”