Hamilton v Hibs preview: Same defence? | Slivka to start? | Kamberi dropped?
Hibs travel to Hamilton on Ladbrokes Premiership duty tomorrow still seeking to bring the curtain down on a wretched run of seven games without a win.
There are reasons to be optimistic - Accies were on the receving end of a 6-0 thumping at Easter Road in early October, and shipped four against Dundee midweek - but Martin Canning’s side are a different beast in their own back yard.
The likes of midfield duo Scott Martin and Tom Taiwo will both be keen to get one over on their former club, and could start in central midfield together. Former Hibs defender Canning is likely to set his team out in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with either Rakish Bingham or on-loan Molde striker Fredrik Brustad leading the line.
Manager Neil Lennon could keep faith with the same back five, but will be forced into personnel changes in midfield and could shake things up in attack as well.
Midfielder Vykintas Slivka could be restored to the starting line-up after coming on as a second half substitute against St Mirren, while striker Florian Kamberi could start on the bench following Garry Parker’s warning that the Swiss forward needed to improve every aspect of his game.
Marvin Bartley misses out after the midfielder suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday night against St Mirren, while fellow midfielder Emerson Hyndman is also expected to miss out.
Hibs are monitoring the fitness of club captain David Gray, but the right-back might not be risked on the Hope CBD Stadium’s plastic pitch as he looks to shake off a niggling muscle injury.
Hamilton are without former Hibs striker James Keatings, who is sidelined with a knee injury, while Alex Gogic and Marios Ogkmpoe are also out with knee complaints. Apart from that, Canning has a full squad to choose from.
Injuries / suspensions / unavailable
Hamilton - Accies are without strikers James Keatings and Marios Ogkmpoe, and defender Alex Gogic, who are all nursing knee injuries.
Hibs - Stand-in captain Marvin Bartley suffered a hamstring injury during the 2-2 draw with St Mirren midweek and will sit this one out along with winger Thomas Agyepong (thigh), David Gray (muscle), centre-back Paul Hanlon (leg) and Emerson Hyndman.
Hamilton: Mucha, Gordon, Kilgallon, Tshiembe, McMann, MacKinnon, Imrie, Martin, Taiwo, Miller, Brustad. Subs from: Woods, McGowan, Sowah, Want, Penny, S Kelly, Bingham, Bloomfield, Cunningham, Stanger, Smith, Monlouis.
Hibs: Bogdan, Mavrias, Ambrose, Porteous, Stevenson, Boyle, Mallan, Slivka, Horgan, Maclaren, Shaw. Subs from: Marciano, Mackie, Nelom, McGregor, Whittaker, Milligan, Kamberi, Gullan, Allan, Kamberi.
Magic number: 36 - the number of goals Hamilton have conceded so far this season, including a 6-0 loss to Hibs, two 4-0 defeats to St Johnstone and Dundee, and 4-1 reversals to Hearts and Rangers.
Key battle: Daryl Horgan is always a threat with his ability to use both feet and good delivery from crosses. Assuming he starts on the left, Ziggy Gordon will have his hands full keeping the former Preston North End winger quiet.
Key stats: Martin Boyle is clearly earmarked by many teams as Hibs’ danger man, with the Australian international having drawn 22 fouls already this season. Coincidentally, Kamberi has given away the same number of free kicks. Boyle also leads the Capital club in assists, with his cross for Oli Shaw against St Mirren taking his tally to four for the season so far.
Referee: Bobby Madden takes charge of his 36th match in all competitions involving Hibs, but only his second ever fixture with Hamilton as the opposition. Of the 21 games he has refereed in the Scottish top flight involving Hibs, Neil Lennon’s side have won nine, drawn two and lost ten. He hasn’t been in charge of a game involving Hibs since the opening day of the season, when Motherwell were beaten 3-0 at Easter Road.
Assistant referees are Alastair Mather and Sean Carr, with Steven McLean on fourth official duties.