New Hibs forward Franck Dja Djedje is in line to make his debut against Falkirk on Saturday as Alan Stubbs prepares to start a match without either of his two main strikers for the first time in four months.
Teenager Jason Cummings, who has started every match since the League Cup win over Ross County in September, will miss out this weekend after yesterday being offered a one-match ban by the Scottish FA’s compliance officer Tony McGlennan for gesturing “offensively” towards Hearts fans while celebrating his goal in last weekend’s Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.
Strike partner Dominique Malonga was already scheduled to be missing the home clash with the Bairns as he is away on international duty with Congo.
With Paul Heffernan out of favour, Dja Djedje and fellow new recruit Martin Boyle have emerged as favourites to lead the attack in place of Hibs’ two top scorers. Dja Djedje, a 28-year-old Ivorian, joined the club on an 18-month deal yesterday after a recommendation from former Hibs defender Sol Bamba, whom he played alongside for Ivory Coast at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The 5ft 9ins attacker served his apprenticeship on the books of Paris Saint-Germain, with the best form of his career coming in spells at French side Grenoble and Ukrainian outfit Chernomorets Odessa. It was with the latter where he scored a winning goal away to PSV Eindhoven 13 months ago as he helped his side reach the last 32 of the Europa League.
He eventually left Ukraine last March due to growing unrest in the area and after a three-month stint under former Leeds United forward Brian Deane’s charge at Norwegian side Sarpsborg 08, he spent the first half of this season with Belarusian club Dinamo Minsk.
Deane didn’t see the best of Dja Djedje, but told the Evening News that Hibs have recruited a player who can operate anywhere across the front line and has all the attributes to be a success at Easter Road, given the time to adapt to a new style of football.
“He’s got a good pedigree and he’s got a very good physique,” said Deane. “Playing in Scotland will be totally different to where he’s played before, so it could take him a bit of time, but if he settles well he could be a fantastic signing because he’s got lots of good attributes.
“He’d had a bit of a traumatic time in Ukraine when he came to us so we only saw in flashes what he could do. But he’s a good athlete with good ability. He’s good in the air, his movement is good and he gets in good positions. He scored a few important goals for us and had a few assists in a short period of time. We played him wide left or wide right, but he can play through the middle as well.
“He’s a quiet lad, no trouble at all, and he’ll fit in with the boys at Hibs no problem. If anything, perhaps he could do with being a bit more vociferous. I’m sure Alan Stubbs will be able to do a good job with him.”
Dja Djedje, pictured, explained that Bamba helped convince him to join Hibs.“Sol is a close friend of mine and he told me all about Hibernian, Edinburgh and Scottish football,” he said. “He told me that I should take this opportunity.”