Drey Wright: Former Hibs ace Danny Swanson says 'exciting’ winger would be a big hit at Easter Road
Midfielder gives the lowdown on ex-St Johnstone team mate
Hibs fans should be excited about the prospect of signing Drey Wright, according to one Hibbie who played alongside him last season.
Leith born and bred, Danny Swanson spent much of his youth on the Easter Road terraces and even went on to play for the club under Neil Lennon in season 2017-18.
His own spell in green and white may have ended in disappointment due to a lack of first-team opportunities, but having spent the past two years alongside Wright at St Johnstone, Swanson believes the pacey winger can make a big impact at his former side, should a deal be completed.
Hibs are in pole position to land the 25-year-old Englishman, who is also attracting interest from elsewhere, after showing him around the club’s East Mains training centre on Wednesday.
“He’s one that I didn’t know anything about when I moved to St Johnstone, but after training and playing with him, you can see he’s an exciting player,” Swanson said. “He’s very fast and direct but he also works back the pitch as well. He was up and down the pitch all game and he was a very important player for St Johnstone.
“The only thing you would say is he doesn’t get enough goals and assists, but hopefully at Hibs, where you maybe get more of the ball, he can change that around. To be fair, he has got a good finish on him. I don’t know if it’s just a confidence thing in front of goal that he maybe struggled a bit with, but he’s definitely got it in him. I don’t know if it’s nerves or what, but it’s just getting past the point of getting his first goal. Hopefully it comes early then after that it’s always easier.
“I think he’d be a positive signing for Hibs considering what’s been going on behind the scenes. It could give the players a massive lift as well because he’s well-driven and wants to do well. He’s a good signing.”
Wright is currently a free agent having turned down an offer to stay at St Johnstone, while Swanson was among a number of players released by the Perth club following the conclusion of last season.
Having made the switch from McDiarmid Park to Easter Road himself, before returning to Saints after one season, Swanson says his former team mate should expect an increase in the expectation levels he has been accustomed to in Scottish football since making the move from Colchester United two years ago.
“It is a lot more pressure,” he stressed. “It was a bit different for me because I had most of my mates at the games and being a Hibs fan, but it’s definitely a step up in pressure.
“If he hits the ground running the fans will really take to him. It’s just getting a run of games, and if he doesn’t get that at the start of the season then hopefully he’ll get a run at some point. That’s what any player needs. Hopefully he has a good pre-season, works hard and it will be good to see him playing for Hibs.”
The signing of Wright would boost head coach Jack Ross’ limited options out wide and allow the Hibs boss to use Martin Boyle as a striker, if the Australian international remains at Easter Road.
“I don’t know if Hibs have got it in mind that Martin might be going, but if he does, then they’ve got a perfect replacement in Drey,” Swanson added.
“They are very similar players, but Boyle has upped his game by getting goals, and I think that’s what Drey needs to add. If he can do that then he’ll be a massive player for Hibs. To have both those players in your team would be very exciting, especially on that big pitch at Easter Road. It could be very good for them.”
Wright recovered from suffering a serious knee injury in his first season at Saints to become a key player under Tommy Wright, making 45 appearances and scoring one goal.
Swanson added: “The manager always looked to play him in every game even though he’d come back from injury because he gave you that energy going forward and defensively as well.
“He was up and down the pitch all game. He was a very important player for St Johnstone and he can play anywhere up the right side – right back, right wing-back and right wing. He’s an all round right-sided player and he’s got a good delivery as well.
“He’ll dig in and work hard for the team. At St Johnstone all the players have been known to do that over the years, and I think that’s why the fans really took to him because he gives his all.
“It’ll be a bit different at Hibs with a nice big stadium and I think he’ll thrive from that. He can’t get anywhere else better to play apart from Rangers and Celtic than Easter Road, so I’m sure he’ll be delighted.
“A lot of English players look at Hibs as a stepping stone, but Drey has just had twins and he’s got a wee boy as well so he’s quite settled up here. I don’t think he’ll be looking at it just to get a bigger move.
“Every player that’s signed for Hibs always enjoys it there and is never in a rush to leave. I don’t think he’ll want to leave in the next couple of years because I think he’ll love it that much. But you never know, say he gets 10 goals next season then teams will be looking at him. Football’s a bit crazy that way. Boyle’s done it now there’s a bit of interest in him and rightly so, and hopefully Drey can go the same way.
“He’s a great lad. He can be quite chirpy, but I think early doors he’ll be quite quiet, so I’ll get on to a few of the boys to get him out of his shell a bit!”