ALAN STUBBS today waxed lyrical about the influence of David Gray as he confirmed the former Manchester United right-back as Hibs’ vice-captain.
The 26-year-old Edinburgh boy became the new manager’s first signing early last month, and Stubbs has been so impressed with his professional approach that he handed him the armband for Tuesday’s League Cup win over Dumbarton in the absence of suspended skipper Liam Craig.
The arrangement is now set to become a permanent one, with Gray expected to lead the team at Alloa tomorrow as Craig, despite being free of suspension, struggles with a back strain. “Liam’s the captain, and from now on David will be the vice-captain,” said Stubbs. “It was a very, very easy choice, to be honest. He was surprised when he was told he was the captain [on Tuesday], but he shouldn’t have been.
“David’s been very good since he’s come in. He’s really respected in the dressing-room even in the short space of time he’s been here. He has a lot of leadership qualities in terms of what I want from my captain. He’s a leader on and off the pitch and is a great pro.
“He does everything right and is an example to all the young players in how to train every day to the best of your ability. He’s knowledgeable about the game, he’s a talker on the pitch and he’s a winner. I could go on and on.”
Stubbs has a decision to make over who to play at centre-half tomorrow after Paul Hanlon returned to training this week following an injury which has kept him out of Hibs’ past three games. The 24-year-old is expected to return to the match-day squad and will vie with Jordon Forster and new signing Liam Fontaine for a starting berth.
The manager has been running the rule over a pair of trialists as he seeks to add further new faces to his squad. South African midfielder Matthew Pattison and Dutch striker Donovan Deekman, both free agents, joined the team for training at Ainslie Park yesterday.
Pattison, 27, was at Newcastle as a youngster and, following a spell at Norwich City, he was most recently at Bidvest Wits in his homeland. He was linked with a move to Rangers three years ago. Deekman, 26, was recently released by Sparta Rotterdam and had a trial at St Johnstone earlier this month.
Stubbs is anticipating transfer activity – both in and out of Easter Road – in the coming days, with midfielder Owain Tudur Jones one of those to have been informed that he is free to leave if he can find a new club.
“We’ve got a couple of trialists in and we’re actively looking,” Stubbs said. “Whether something comes from it I honestly don’t know. We haven’t got a huge amount of money to sign players for fees, so it is going to be free agents and players who are out of contract.
“From now to Monday there could be some movement – I’m hoping there’s going to be. There may be some that go out, and some that come in.
“I’ve spoken to Owain. It would be similar to what I said about Michael [Nelson, who joined Cambridge this week], but that conversation was private so I’m not going to go into what was said. We’ll see.”