Hibs won't overspend in summer, insists Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon has insisted Hibs won't overspend as he bids to strengthen his squad ahead of the Easter Road club's return to the Premiership.
While keen to retain the nucleus of the squad which has won the Scottish Cup and the Championship title over the course of the past two seasons, Lennon is also keen to add further quality players before the new season kicks-off.
He has succeeded in persuading skipper David Gray, Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson, Marvin Bartley and Ross Laidlaw to agree new two-year deals and at the same time underlined his determination to hold onto top-scorer Jason Cummings and Scotland midfielder John McGinn, both of whom he admits will attract plenty of interest from elsewhere.
Paul Hanlon, Dylan McGeouch and Jordon Forster remain under contract, as do youngsters Scott Martin and Callum Crane – both on the fringes of the first-team squad – but Fraser Fyvie, Liam Fontaine and Martin Boyle have yet to commit their futures to Hibs.
But Lennon has found himself short of firepower, with James Keatings opting to sign for Dundee United in the hope of more regular football and veteran hitman Grant Holt has been released along with Alex Harris, Chris Humphrey, Brian McLean, Scott Gallacher and Jamie Insall, while Efe Ambrose, Ofir Marciano and Andrew Shinnie have seen their loan spells in Edinburgh come to an end,
Lennon is keen to bring both Nigerian internationalist Ambrose, out of contract with Celtic shortly, and Marciano back on permanent deals although the goalkeeper remains tied to Israeli club Ashdod.
Republic of Ireland striker Anthony Stokes has been touted as returning to Hibs for a third spell, with relegated Blackburn Rovers ready to release him from the remaining two years of his contract, while the Easter Road outfit are said to be ready to do battle with Aberdeen for the signature of Scotland midfielder Shaun Maloney.
While his players are departing for a well-earned rest, Lennon said that as far as he is concerned, working on contracts, budgets and recruiting new faces never stops.
He said: “It’s really important we try to recruit the right players and obviously not over-spending. We have lots to look forward to, we are back in the big show which is were we belong.
“It’s great, four derbies, four games against Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen and St Johnstone, real tests. But that is what we want.”