Hibs boss could swoop again before window closes

Alan Stubbs. Picture: John Devlin. Keith Watson is pictured below
Alan Stubbs. Picture: John Devlin. Keith Watson is pictured below
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Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has refused to rule out further moves in the transfer market after making Dundee United defender Keith Watson his fourth signing of the January window.

The 25-year-old, who can operate either at right-back or in central defence, has agreed a loan deal until the end of the season to add cover and competition to David Gray, currently out of action as he recovers from a groin operation which has resulted in Stubbs being forced to ask either Lewis Stevenson or Callum Booth, both naturally left-footed players, to switch flanks.

Watson joins Dundee forward Martin Boyle, also on loan, Ivory Coast striker Franck Dja Djedje, who has penned an 18-month contract, and goalkeeper Tomas Cerny, who has agreed a short-term deal until the end of the season, in arriving at Easter Road with current No.1 Mark Oxley’s loan spell from Hull City having also been extended.

On loan players Matty Kennedy and Jake Sinclair have, however, returned to their parent clubs, Everton and Southampton respectively, while Booth has departed to play with Partick Thistle for the remainder of the season.

But while declaring himself “really happy” with the moves he’s made, Stubbs told the Edinburgh club’s annual general meeting last night it was a case of “watch this space” as the clock ticks down to the window slamming shut on Monday night.

The head coach said: “I am happy with the business we have done up to now and with the players who are coming back from injury – Jordon Forster, Farid El Alagui and David Gray, along with Dominique Malonga returning from the African Cup of Nations – I think the squad is very, very strong.

“You never know what might happen between now and the window closing. Things change sometimes and if something did become available and there was a possibility, then you never know. You want to sign good players and when good players have become available the board have been very good in providing me with the best possible players.

“It’s a case of watch this space at the moment, but I am delighted with what I have got to finish the season very strongly.”

And it was the progress Hibs have made under Stubbs which, Watson revealed, helped persuade him to swap the Premiership for the Championship.

Out of contract at the end of the season he said: “I’m really pleased to sign for Hibernian on loan – it’s a great opportunity for me and I’m excited about the future.

“I know a few of the Hibs players from my time at United and they’ve all spoken very highly of the manager and the set-up.

“I’ve been really impressed with the progress that has been made this season and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.

“After experiencing a few set-backs with injuries over the years, I now want to kick-on, play regularly and help the team to achieve promotion.”