Sam Stanton remains confident he can impress Neil Lennon enough to revive his Hibs career.
After being cast as an unused substitute for the Easter Road club in the early weeks of the season, the 22-year-old midfielder took up the opportunity to join Dumbarton on a season-long loan at the end of the summer transfer window in order to get the regular game time he craved.
Stanton remains contracted to Hibs until summer 2018 and is hopeful that maintaining consistent form for the Sons in the Championship, allied to training three days a week at East Mains, will allow him to catch the eye of head coach Lennon and be granted one last crack at salvaging his career with his parent club next season.
“I always believe in myself and I definitely still feel I can play for Hibs again,” the academy graduate told the Evening News. “When I was going out on loan, Neil Lennon told me it was up to me. He knew I wanted to play games and didn’t really want to be on the bench every week so he gave me a lot of support and helped me get out on loan. He said all the time that I was welcome to stay at Hibs, so it makes it easier going on loan knowing that you’ve not been forced out. That gives me hope that I can still get back into the Hibs team.
“Even now, I firmly believe I could play for them. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that I’m good enough.
“It’s just a case of hopefully getting that opportunity again and if I do get it, I need to take it.”
Lennon said when he first took over from Alan Stubbs in June that he rated Stanton, but, after a loan spell at Livingston in the second half of last season, the midfielder’s chances of re-establishing himself at his boyhood club were always likely to be limited by the fact Hibs boast several highly-regarded players in his position, such as John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch, Marvin Bartley and Fraser Fyvie. Nonetheless, he feels he has more chance of winning over Lennon than he did towards the end of Stubbs’ reign.
“I’ve got two opportunities to impress because I’m still training with the Hibs first team on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then I’m playing regularly for Dumbarton at the weekend,” he explained.
“At Livingston last year it was different because I was training full-time with them, so I only had the games to impress. If Hibs weren’t seeing the games, there was no chance of catching their eye, so this year I feel like I’ve got an advantage in terms of getting back into the Hibs team at some point because even if they’re not seeing my games, they’re still seeing me in training.”