Hearts and Hibs eye James McPake after transfer request

James McPake
James McPake
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Hibs and Hearts target James McPake has paved the way for a return to Scotland by slapping in a transfer request at English Championship outfit Coventry City, the Evening News can reveal today.

The former Livingston defender, who spent the early part of this year out with a broken back, has become frustrated at the lack of first-team action at the Ricoh Stadium and has told Sky Blues boss Andy Thorn he wants to come back north of the Border.

Both Capital clubs have expressed an interest in the 27-year-old but they may face competition from SPL rivals Dundee United and Dunfermline who are also said to be keen on the possibility of a loan deal.

Thorn, though, while willing to agree to McPake’s request, is more likely to be seeking a permanent switch on the back of a transfer fee, the stopper having signed a contract extension this summer. And he’s unlikely to sanction a move until he is assured he’ll be allowed to reinvest any money raised in a new player.

Thorn admitted he’s ben disappointed by McPake’s request. He said: “James came to see me and said he and his wife want to go back to Scotland. After his injury and giving him another year to get himself right to play it seems a little bit disappointing.

“But if that is what he wants, if people do not want to stick around for the fight and do not want to play here that’s fine, they can move on because I need people who want to have a go for the club.”

Meanwhile, Pat Fenlon today urged Hibs fans to be patient as he attempts to attract new players to aid the Easter Road outfit’s bid to haul themselves clear of the SPL danger zone.

Fenlon has made it clear he doesn’t intend Sligo Rovers striker Eoin Doyle being the sole new arrival over the course of the January transfer window as he bids to revamp a squad which has taken just one point from five games since he officially took charge.

However, the Irishman has also stated he won’t be indulging in speculation other than to say he has a list of targets and has “one or two things bubbling away.”

McPake, Lithuanian midfielder Mindaugas Kalonas, who played under Fenlon at Bohemians, and Hartlepool right-back Neil Austin have all been linked.

But while well aware the Hibs support are anxious for further signings, Fenlon said: “We are still trying to do a fair bit but while you’d like to get people in sooner rather than later, it is difficult to get them to commit straight away this early in January.

“I am not gong to bring players in for the sake of it but we do have a lot of young boys in the team and we need a bit more experience. A lot of names are being thrown in but until you have them over the line you are reluctant to say.”