Aiden McGeady set to make long-awaited Hibs return as Kyle Magennis absence is explained
The veteran winger hasn’t made a league appearance for the Capital club since signing in July, after featuring in all Premier Sports Cup group matches only to then suffer a recurrence of the injury that dogged him during his final year at Sunderland during the final pre-season friendly against Norwich City.
Speaking last month Johnson revealed that the 36-year-old was taking part in just about every aspect of training but was still feeling a ‘pinch’ which was preventing him from making a playing comeback.
“I think we might try and risk Aiden a bit in the FC Edinburgh game. He’s still getting a bit of nip in that last extensive action, whether that be a shot from distance or a cross, so we might try and throw something into it like an injection or something like that just to get rid of that last bit of fizz. We need to be able to build up his lung capacity as well,” the Easter Road boss explained.
Johnson is also keen for Harry McKirdy, Kevin Nisbet, and Demi Mitchell to continue to build up their match fitness when Alan Maybury’s Citizens come visiting next week. McKirdy and Nisbet showed promising signs when played together as a front two in the first half against Middlesbrough last weekend, with the manager cheered by the 25-year-old’s performance – ‘any quality we did have often went through him’ – in his first game back from injury.
“Hopefully we will see another level of sharpness from Harry and Kevin, and Demi as well when we play the Edinburgh game,” Johnson continued. “It’s work that we’ve got to go and do again, that we would have liked to have been doing in pre-season, which is why it’s a good break for us and it’s come at the right time.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Magennis should also line up against the League One side after missing the Middlesbrough visit, but the friendly may come too soon for Jake Doyle-Hayes who is still working his way back from an ankle problem.
"Kyle was ill which kept him out of the Boro friendly – he’s a player I really like, and he’s going to get that extra little bit of sharpness as well over the next couple of weeks; Jake is another good footballer who gives us another option,” Johnson added.
The Hibs boss also hinted that Will Fish is set to play a key role in the Capital club’s second mid-season friendly. The on-loan Manchester United defender played 82 minutes against Boro and looked comfortable in defence alongside Rocky Bushiri in the first half and Paul Hanlon in the second.
With the future of Ryan Porteous uncertain and Johnson dropping heavy hints that he could look to move on the Scotland internationalist in January, Fish would be the obvious candidate to step up in the short-term, with Bushiri and Hanlon likely to make up the remainder of Johnson’s first-choice centre-backs.
"It feels like Will is ready to step into that trusted position,” Johnson added. “Games like the Middlesbrough friendly, and the Edinburgh game, are perfect to see how he does.”