On-loan Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths has admitted he faces an uncertain future – on the day Irish hitman Eoin Doyle became new Easter Road boss Pat Fenlon’s first signing.
Fenlon snapped up 23-year-old Doyle on an 18-month contract after the forward, who scored 25 goals for Sligo Rovers in the League of Ireland season just ended, impressed during this week’s trial in Edinburgh.
However, Doyle won’t go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s SPL clash against Dundee United as he will have to wait until the transfer window opens, leaving him with the mouthwatering prospect of a baptism of fire in the January 2 derby with Hearts.
But, while Doyle was settling into his new surroundings, the clock is ticking on Griffiths’ stay with Hibs, his loan deal from Wolves due to end in January, with the Scotland Under-21 star having been told he’s up for sale.
Griffiths was given the shock news in a phone call from Molineux boss Mick McCarthy, who told him he didn’t see him forcing his way into his first-team plans despite having spent a reported £150,000 to take him from Dundee less than a year ago.
Today Griffiths admitted he’d been stunned by McCarthy’s decision, claiming he feels he hasn’t been given the opportunity to prove himself in the English Premier League.
The former Livingston player said: “Mr McCarthy phoned me last week and I have to admit it was a bit of a blow. He signed me last January and although I didn’t think I was ready for the first team I played in the reserves and thought I’d given a good account of myself.
“I came up here in August and I think I’ve done reasonably well but I really only had seven months at Wolves to prove myself so it is disappointing. There’s guys at Wolves like Steven Fletcher, Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, all international players, so I can’t complain about them being ahead of me but it is still a bit of a blow.”
Griffiths has four more matches in a green and white shirt before his loan deal expires: tomorrow’s match at Tannadice, the visit of Inverness Caley on Wednesday, the derby, and the start of Hibs’ Scottish Cup campaign against Cowdenbeath on January 2.
McCarthy, who signed Hearts’ Eggert Jonsson this week, has said a couple of Scottish clubs have expressed an interest in Griffiths and he will be open to bids, leaving the player himself pondering his future.
He said: “If Hibs want to buy me it is up to them or anyone else who wants me.
“What I have to do is try not to let this distract me, to keep my head down, hopefully score a few goals and see what happens.”
Fenlon will no doubt wait to see what interest in Griffiths transpires before considering his next move in regard to the player although he’s already spoken to McCarthy about extending his loan deal.
But if other clubs were to step in with offers of hard cash then Hibs would presumably have to at least match those bids if they wish to retain the services of the former Livingston striker who grew up supporting Hibs.
Fenlon’s strikeforce has already been depleted by the departure of Ghana internationalist Junior Agogo although the club have yet to confirm his exit.