PAT FENLON today insisted Hibs fans will see the best of Jorge Claros when the Honduran internationalist returns to complete his loan deal at Easter Road.
The Hibs boss accepts the “jury is still out” as far as some supporters are concerned, with the 26-year-old only producing glimpses of what they had expected from the player, who was snapped up in the January transfer window after Rangers failed to offer him a contract.
But Fenlon, while not seeking to make excuses for the midfield star, believes there were a number of factors which could help explain why Claros didn’t hit top form on a consistent basis over the second half of last season.
Claros, nicknamed “The Pitbull” in his homeland, was just one of seven January signings — six of them on loan — made by Fenlon in a desperate, and ultimately successful, bid to ensure SPL survival.
Adjusting to the Scottish game in a struggling side, arriving with hardly a word of English and knowing his wife Elsa, who had remained in Central America, was heavily pregnant with their first child had, Fenlon believes, preyed on the player’s mind, with Claros unable to see his son Johan until he was almost three months old.
Claros returned to Honduras immediately after the crushing Scottish Cup defeat by Hearts, substituted after only 41 minutes at Hampden and, since then, there has been speculation as to whether he would even report back for pre-season training.
Today though, Fenlon insisted that not only did he expect to see Claros rejoin his team-mates at East Mains on July 2, but that the player, who has been training with his parent club Motagua in recent weeks, would realise his potential in a green and white shirt.
He said: “Like all the other players Jorge has received a letter and email in relation to pre-season. It was a difficult situation when he first arrived, he hardly had a word of English although that’s improved all the time while his wife was back in Honduras.
“But now both she and their son will be coming to Edinburgh which will help as I am sure he’ll feel more settled with them here rather than on the other side of the Atlantic.
“Jorge looked good in some games last season and struggled a bit in others and he knows himself he could have performed better, but there were all those little things going on in the background.
“The good thing is Jorge wants to be here, he wants to play for Hibs and once he gets a good pre-season under him I’m sure he’ll be ready for the new season.”