Hibs boss has fingers crossed over fitness of key midfielders
Neil Lennon is hopeful that Hibs midfielders Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley will be available to face Partick Thistle on Saturday.
The manager will be without Scotland internationalist John McGinn through suspension for the visit of the Maryhill side and he now faces an anxious few days to learn if McGeouch and Bartley will have recovered in time from a groin injury and a virus respectively.
McGeouch missed the 1-1 draw at St Johnstone a week past Friday and the on-form 25-year-old subsequently had to withdraw from Scotland duty after being given his maiden call-up by Alex McLeish for the double-header against Costa Rica and Hungary.
“Dylan’s due to be training Thursday so we’re hoping he’ll be okay,” Lennon told the Evening News. “He’s done some light training this week. We’re not taking any unnecessary risks so we’ll just see how it reacts over the next couple of days. Hopefully he’ll be back in Thursday, ready for Saturday.”
With Lithuanian midfielder Vykintas Slivka having been sidelined by injury for the past two months, Bartley, who replaced McGeouch in the starting lineup at McDiarmid Park, would be a certainty to start this weekend if he shakes off a bout of illness. “Bartley’s had a virus but hopefully he’ll train Thursday as well,” said Lennon. “We’re missing McGinn and we don’t know how Dylan’s going to react so it’s really important that Marvin’s okay.”
Lennon reported positive progress with regard to long-term injury victims Brandon Barker and David Gray. On-loan Manchester City winger Barker has been out since tearing his hamstring in the win over Rangers at Ibrox at the start of February while captain Gray has been sidelined with an Achilles injury sustained during the club’s training camp in Portugal in mid-January. “Barker’s back on the grass but he’s not training with the first team yet – hopefully he’ll be back training on Monday,” said the manager. “David Gray’s been doing some running over the last week but he’ll not be ready for the weekend. They’re coming back slowly but surely.”