Handling and Caldwell urged to show worth to Hibs

Danny Handling of Hibs. Picture: TSPL
Danny Handling of Hibs. Picture: TSPL
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IAN MURRAY has urged Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling to prove their worth to Hibs boss Pat Fenlon this season – even if they find themselves sitting on the sidelines again.

The former Hibs midfielder reckons that Pat Fenlon will be keen to bring at least one new striker in before they kick off their season in the Europa League qualifiers in the middle of next month.

The Hibs manager has made no secret of the fact that he is looking to add more firepower to his squad, following the departures of both Leigh Griffiths and Eoin Doyle at the end of last season. Caldwell made 17 appearances and Handling 15 in the SPL last term, mainly off the bench, and both have shown the potential to become first-team regulars.

However, Murray, now manger of Dumbarton, believes they are likely to find themselves on the fringes of the team if more new faces are added but he hopes that will make them more determined to force themselves into Fenlon’s plans.

Murray, whose Dumbarton side will take on Hibs in a friendly match at the Bet Butler Stadium a week on Saturday, said: “You would think Pat will be on the lookout for a striker or maybe two. Leigh Griffiths scored a lot of goals for them last season but it looks like he has gone back to Wolves and they’ve also lost Eoin Doyle, who scored a fair few himself.

“They have got Danny Handling and Ross Caldwell waiting in the wings and they have both done well whenever they have been involved with the first team.

“But, no disrespect to them, I don’t think that they have done enough to merit being in there on a regular basis. I think they are both ones for the future but they would both benefit from a bit of experience in there. If he does manage to bring in a couple of players up front then it is up to the likes of Caldwell and Handling to prove him wrong and show that they can do the business too.”

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie travelled to Wolves in a bid to bring Griffiths back to Easter Road for next season, only to leave disappointed.

Petrie wanted to meet his Wolves counterpart in person to put in an official offer for the striker, but was told that Griffiths’ form from last season had put him right back in the frame at Wolves under new manager Kenny Jackett.

Petrie said: “I wanted to come to Wolverhampton to meet Jez face-to-face, to impress upon him the desire of Hibernian to acquire the services of Leigh Griffiths on a permanent basis.

“We had a cordial meeting and I put firm proposals on the table. However, these have been rejected outright. Reluctantly, we have to conclude that there is nothing further that can be done at this time to prise the player away from Wolves.”

Moxey has high hopes that Griffiths can follow in the footsteps of former Hibs striker Steven Fletcher, who also made the move to Wolves and yesterday he described the 22-year-old as a “sensation” during his two-year loan spell north.

Griffiths bagged 28 goals for Hibs in that time and Moxey said: “As we have previously stated, we took up the option to extend Leigh’s contract for season 2013-14, towards the end of April, and this was acknowledged in writing by the player.

“Our new head coach, Kenny Jackett, is looking forward to working with Leigh, who has been such a sensation in Scottish football.”