Charleston Battery chief speaks on player swap with Hibs and which Easter Road stars could head to the US

Charleston Battery’s Chief Operating Officer Mike Kelleher has spoken at great length about the “headline” news of the American club’s partnership with Hibs – the potential for swapping players.

By Patrick McPartlin
Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 4:45 pm
Leland Archer, left, and Robbie Crawford will spend a period of time training wit Hibs
Leland Archer, left, and Robbie Crawford will spend a period of time training wit Hibs

In an appearance on the Soccer Down Here podcast Kelleher admitted that, while the link-up was multi-faceted the element that had caught the attention of most supporters was the prospect of Battery players turning out for Hibs, and Easter Road squad members heading for South Carolina.

Two of the Charleston squad – Trinidad and Tobago international defender Leland Archer and former Rangers youngster Robbie Crawford – have already joined Hibs for a trial period and it is expected that a number of the Capital club’s youngsters will be offered the chance to make a similar move to the USL Championship side.

Recalling the players’ reaction when he spoke to them, Kelleher said: “Leland was taken aback at first because we made a point of not letting the players know about it as we were coming towards the end of the season and didn't want anything to distract from what we were doing on the field and have their minds wander elsewhere.

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"Mentally I think he had probably adjusted to having some time off but once he realised what the opportunity was, became very excited.

"Robbie was going back home to Scotland, and wouldn't be too far away so I sat down with him and said, 'this is the opportunity' and he was looking forward to it.”

But Kelleher is especially delighted to have agreed an arrangement with Hibs that will allow Charleston head coach Mike Anhaeuser to single out players he feels will improve his team.

Kelleher continued: “There will be a number of players in their development group, and it’s important for Mike to go over and identify suitable players because we've been in partnerships before where we get given players; told 'you're going to take this left-back, we want you to play him', which is great, but now our current left-back is now out of the team because the bigger club is telling us to pick their player.

"We want to get a list of seven or eight players who may have the opportunity to come to America and when we book a trip over, probably in the new year, we can see whether they fit in and we can structure the rest of the squad around them."

The Battery chief is hopeful that Archer and Crawford can impress the coaching staff at Hibs but insists the Mount Pleasant club can benefit whatever the outcome.

He explained: “The first step is monitoring how our players do. We'd love for them to be offered a contract in the Scottish Premiership but if not, can we find out how far away they are, and what sort of players we need to send over.

"The next step is players coming this way. They've got a couple of players out on loan to lower-league clubs in Scotland that they have said may be available to us.

"I think it's really important that we'll have a group of players that will be our choice, and that Mike gets a say in that."

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