Hibs boss Pat Fenlon remains hopeful that Honduran internationalist Jorge Claros will stay at Easter Road after extending the loans of top scorer Leigh Griffiths and Northern Ireland defender Ryan McGivern.
Having confirmed Griffiths and McGivern will be at Easter Road until the end of the season, Hibs will now turn their full attention to persuading Claros’ parent club Motagua to allow him to do likewise.
The 27-yer-old has already told the Capital club he wants to continue playing for Hibs. He has spent the past year on loan in Edinburgh where, after a slow start to his Hibs career, he’s become a firm favourite with the fans as they’ve seen a remarkable transformation in Fenlon’s side, which has gone from second bottom in the SPL to challenging for a place in Europe.
Hibs continue that quest on Saturday as top-flight action resumes after the winter break with basement outfit Dundee travelling to Easter Road. Claros will be available for that match as his loan deal doesn’t end until later this month, a fact which gives Fenlon some breathing space as negotiations with Motagua continue.
A complicating factor, however, is that Claros still has 18 months of his contract to run with the Honduran outfit, Motagua director Julio Gutierrez having revealed other clubs are interested in securing his services and may be willing to pay for a permanent move. That may price Hibs out of the market, given the tight financial restrictions under which most Scottish clubs are operating at present.
Fenlon, meanwhile, was delighted to secure both Griffiths and McGivern for the remainder of the current campaign having stated on
several occasions his priority during the January transfer window would be to hold on to his loan signings although
he also admitted retaining all three might prove too tough an ask.
The Hibs boss said: “We are delighted to be able to keep both players until the end of the season. Leigh and Ryan have made massive contributions to the team and have been good for us. This news gives
everybody connected with the club a boost.”
Griffiths, who has scored 14 SPL goals so far, claimed he’s enjoying the season of his life at the club he’s supported since boyhood even although he’s found himself in hot water over an alleged racist comment on Twitter.
On the field, though, it’s been going well with Hibs fourth in the table and looking forward to a Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Aberdeen having knocked arch-rivals and holders Hearts out of this year’s competition.
Griffiths, who won his first full Scotland in November, said: “This season has been the most enjoyable of my career so far. I’ve been playing for the team I support and scoring goals to help Hibs challenge. Now the loan has been extended I can focus on my football and repay the club and manger for continuing to show faith in me.”
Although Griffiths’ contract at Wolves expires this summer, the Molineux club revealed they have an option to extend it until the summer of next year.
Manchester City star
McGivern, who has become a fixture in Fenlon’s team since coming north in search of first team football said: “Ever since I moved here I’ve felt part of the club and I’m really pleased to be staying.”