Future of two Hibs stars up in the air as January approaches

Thomas Agyepong had to be replaced during the Dundee game, having coming on as a substitute
Thomas Agyepong had to be replaced during the Dundee game, having coming on as a substitute
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Hibs manager Neil Lennon is mulling over whether to extend the loan deals of attacking duo Thomas Agyepong and Emerson Hyndman beyond January.

Both players are currently injured and have struggled to put together a regular run of games since joining from Manchester City, and Bournemouth.

Agyepong has been plagued by injury and has only managed one start and five substitute appearances since arriving in the summer.

Following almost two months on the sidelines, the Ghanaian returned as a 60th-minute substitute against Dundee last weekend but had to be replaced towards the end with a thigh injury which could rule him out until the end of December. If that is the case, it could mean Agyepong has kicked his last ball for Hibs, with Lennon admitting that the pacy winger’s inactivity is a problem.

“Agyepong has had a scan and he may miss December,” said the manager. “We’re speaking to Man City on his situation at the minute. We’d like to keep him, obviously, but his contribution has been minimal due to injuries, so it’s something we’re speaking to Man City over.

“He’s contracted to January and we have an option, so we’re talking about that at the minute. I like him, but we need him on the pitch.

“We’ve missed him. We’ve got Martin Boyle on one side and Daryl Horgan’s done his bit, but we’ve missed his extra bit of pace that we had with Brandon Barker last season. Thomas was going to bring that for us, so we’ve had to adapt and we may have to change the way we play in some games and dig in and grind it out, which is not ideal and not the way we want to play. Sometimes it’s needs must.”

Hyndman’s future is also to be decided over the next month. The attacking midfielder has started eight games for Hibs this season but is set to miss the next couple of matches against Kilmarnock and St Mirren after being sidelined by injury for the past two games. “We can look at it in January,” Lennon said of Hyndman’s situation.

“It’s too early to say. He’s played well in patches and hopefully he’ll be back for six of the games between now and January, and he can make a good contribution because he’s a good player.”

The struggles of Agyepong and Hyndman have been symptomatic of a rocky start to the season for Hibs, who currently sit seventh in the Premiership after failing to win any of their past five matches. Lennon admits the progress of the team has been disrupted by the loss of midfield trio Dylan McGeouch, Scott Allan and John McGinn in the summer, but the manager remains confident of an upturn.

“We just need to maybe scratch out a result here and there,” said Lennon. “I’m not making a huge issue out of it because we’re not a million miles away. But the longer it goes on, the more questions you will get asked, the more likely their heads might drop. We have to keep their tails up because they are a good group.

“There’s no doubt losing those players in the summer is going to hamper any team. They’re great players, exciting players so we have to adapt to that. We had a good start to the season. Confidence is a little bit low but we’ve played some good teams. The performances haven’t been brilliant but they haven’t been bad. The fine margins are going against us at the minute and we need to change that.”