PAT FENLON insists he intends on keeping his cool rather than blowing his top and hitting the panic button as he battles to get Hibs’ season back on track.
In the immediate aftermath of watching his side being crushed by St Johnstone – the 3-1 defeat leaving the Easter Road outfit with an appalling record of just one win in their last ten SPL matches – the Hibs boss suggested changes could be on the way, hinting there may be opportunities for those who had been on the bench or sitting in the stand, and for some of the club’s youngsters.
Rather than indulge in a wholesale revamp of his side, however, Fenlon revealed he’ll be adopting a more methodical approach, curbing his anger at the inept performance he’d witnessed and choosing his teams purely on the basis of which players he felt would be best suited for any particular opposition.
He said: “You are looking at change in relation to who you are playing. You might make one or two changes but I think you have to try to sit back and, although you are angry after a game, make sure you get the team and tactics right for the opposition you are going up against as well as trying to get a bit of a reaction from people.”
With that in mind, Fenlon was adamant he’ll only throw youngsters in if he feels it’s the right time to do so. He said: “Danny Handling has played in the team, as has Ross Caldwell, and there’s been a few of them knocking on the door.
“But you’ve got to make sure that they are up to playing. We have two or three at the moment who have potentially got a real chance of playing in the first team but it is about introducing them at the proper stage which is really important for the team and for their development as players.
“I think you’ve got to judge where you are as a team, where the player is at the time and whether you think he is right and at the right stage of his
career to go and play.”
Regardless of what changes he may or may not make, both today and in the coming weeks, Fenlon is adamant his players have to recapture the standards they’d set themselves earlier in the campaign when they were flirting with the very top of the SPL table. Although Hibs have already surpassed their points total of last season, Fenlon has warned his squad he won’t let them rest on their laurels.
He said: “The one thing that has been a ‘given’ every week has been that work-rate. We didn’t get it on Monday night, we know that, they know that and they know that has got to improve.
“At the moment, I don’t think we’re at the levels we were at. We’ve probably stepped off in relation to the work-rate we saw in the early part of the season. We’ve got to a point maybe where we picked up points early and thought we didn’t have to do too much more and that’s something that we’ve got to make sure doesn’t happen.”