Doyle makes impact in Hibs friendly

Eoin Doyle
Eoin Doyle
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Hibs target Eoin Doyle has made an instant impact at Easter Road, scoring in his first game in a green and white shirt.

Doyle found the net as Pat Fenlon’s side defeated St Johnstone 3-0 at East Mains but the Hibs boss today insisted he won’t be rushed into making a decision on the striker who scored 25 goals for Sligo Rovers last season, breaking a 74-year-old club record.

Fenlon, of course, knows Doyle well from the League of Ireland, two of the 23-year-old’s goals coming in a 3-0 win over his former club Bohemians at Dalymount,

And he is well aware Doyle’s scoring record hasn’t gone un- noticed elsewhere with both SPL rivals Aberdeen and English Championship outfit Ipswich Town credited with an interest.

Fenlon will continue to assess Doyle over the next few days before coming to a decision, but revealed he was delighted to see the hitman last the entire 90 minutes yesterday despite having not played since helping Sligo retain the FAI Cup in a penalty shoot-out against Shelbourne at the beginning of last month.

The Easter Road manager, who has had Doyle’s Sligo team-mate Iarfhlaith Davoren on trial in Edinburgh, said: “I know Eoin well, he’s had a couple of good seasons in Ireland but I wanted to see how his fitness was given he hadn’t played in six weeks. He lasted the game, which was good. We’ll continue to have a look at him over the next few days and come to a decision.”

Doyle is a free agent with his contract at Sligo having come to an end but the Irish club are keen to keep him although spokesman Keith O’Dwyer admitted the forward was eager for a switch to the SPL.

He said: “We are very aware about the interest from Hibs, and as he is not a contracted player he is entitled to seek fresh moves for himself. We’re not 100 per cent sure he is going to sign and we would not give up hope that we can sign Doyle for next year because he is a huge player for us.”

Fenlon is anxious to strengthen a strikeforce which has scored just 16 SPL goals this season, the vast majority having come from Garry O’Connor.

Junior Agogo has fallen out of favour since the change in manager, the Ghana internationalist appearing to have played his last game for Hibs while Akpo Sodje has found himself confined to the bench for much of this season.

And the future of on-loan Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths is uncertain with Molineux boss Mick McCarthy revealing he’ll be willing to sell the former Livingston and Dundee star in the January transfer window.

However, if there are no buyers McCarthy appears willing to extend the Scotland Under-21 internationalist’s loan deal at Easter Road.

Fenlon said: “I’ve spoken to Mick who told me they would like to sell him. If that does not happen he’s happy for him to stay with us but it depends if someone comes in to buy him, we have to be aware of that.”

Meanwhile Craig Thomson has been named as a referee for next summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine only days after having two big decisions called into question.

Thomson awarded Aberdeen a penalty after Peter Pawlett went down under a challenge on Hibs star Ivan Sproule and then sent the Dons player off for a lunge at Lewis Stevenson. Now Pawlett has been charged with diving while Aberdeen are appealing his red card.