Paul Heckingbottom has no idea if Hibs will have any chance of retaining loan stars Marc McNulty and Stéphane Omeonga beyond the end of this season – but he admits their prices will go up if they continue to excel.
The two players have made a big impact at Easter Road since joining in January from Reading and Genoa respectively and supporters are hoping the club can find a way of bringing the key duo back to Edinburgh next term.
McNulty and Omeonga are both contracted to their parent clubs until 2022, and Heckingbottom acknowledged that the fact they have performed so well for Hibs could make it more difficult to keep hold of them. The head coach explained that it is likely to be the end of the season before the future of the two players becomes clear.
“There are so many factors involved in that and you could ask me that every time and I could give you a different answer every time,” said Heckingbottom.
“We know they are good players and if they are performing well for us, of course we want to keep them. But if they are doing that then they are also putting themselves out there and putting themselves out of our league and attracting interest from other people.
“So it is something that is likely to be changing and it will do between now and end of season.”
After scoring seven goals for Hibs, McNulty was rewarded with a first Scotland call-up for the Euro 2020 double-header against Kazakhstan and San Marino. He came on as a substitute in both games. Omeonga, meanwhile, played for Belgium Under-21s in their friendly defeat by Denmark as they limbered up for this summer’s European Championship. Heckingbottom believes their international involvement over the past week vindicates their respective decisions to join Hibs.
“It is fantastic,” said the head coach. “That’s the one thing about Marc and Stephane, they both wanted to come here and play games. They showed a desire to get on the pitch and the desire to win games and that is the reward. Steph has been away and performed well with the Belgium Under-21s and Marc has two Scotland caps now. That’s by going and playing football. It is too easy to sit at a football club and not play. You still get paid but it is one of the worst things, it is so unrewarding.