Fresh injury blow and international call-ups leave Hibs struggling for numbers

Campbell is stretchered off at Easter RoadCampbell is stretchered off at Easter Road
Campbell is stretchered off at Easter Road | SNS Group
Socceroos, DRC and Ghana all within rights to demand players

International call-ups and an injury set-back for Josh Campbell have left Hibs running on fumes heading into their final game before the winter break. And Easter Road boss Nick Montgomery admits the Edinburgh club have been powerless to prevent national team bosses from taking players to compete in the Asian Cup and Africa Cup of Nations.

As revealed here yesterday, Martin Boyle and Lewis Miller will both report for a pre-tournament training camp with the Socceroos in Doha on Monday. Rocky Bushiri will also miss Tuesday’s visit of Motherwell as he joins up with the Democratic Republic of Congo squad heading to AFCON, while back-up goalie Jojo Wollacott has also been named in Ghana’s preliminary squad for the tournament on Côte d’Ivoire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With Josh Campbell being stretchered off in Wednesday night’s derby defeat by Hearts, Monty’s men will be well short of numbers as they look to break a two-game losing streak, the Yorkshireman saying: “It’s a tournament where they have the right to take the players. Unfortunately we’ll lose Lewis and Martin for the Motherwell game, as well as Rocky – and possibly Jojo Wollacott. We’re already pretty thin on the ground.

“Adding Josh Campbell to that as well, he’s potentially going to be out for four-plus weeks with a badly sprained ankle, it’s definitely not great timing. But it’s also just one game before the international break, so we have to get on with it.”

Aware that his international players could be away until well into February, depending on how their teams progress, Montgomery said: “Yeah, we looked at when they go away and potentially how long they could be away. But that’s nothing we can control. You want the boys to do well but it impacts on your squad.

“We’re not the only team. There are other teams losing players to competitions. What we can control is who we have available, working to get injured boys fit on the training ground – and hopefully bringing in a couple of new faces if we can find the right players, and if the budget will allow. That’s not easy.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold was insistent that all his players be in camp by Monday at the latest, with a friendly against Bahrain key to preparations for the tournament favourites. The Aussie said: “With the way international windows are structured and the distance we travel, our preparation usually entails one or possibly two training sessions ahead of a game. To get the boys together for close to a week, with an international fixture against a team like Bahrain in conditions we can expect throughout the Asian Cup will be hugely beneficial.

“While it’s an opportunity for us to fine-tune our preparation, like any time we get to represent Australia, we’ll be looking to do the nation proud and lay the foundation for a successful campaign in Doha. We’ve built a fantastic camaraderie within the squad over a long period of time, and I know the players are excited to get into camp and get to work.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.