Liam Fontaine and Martin Boyle are set to extend their stints at Hibs, Neil Lennon has confirmed.
The two players were among a batch of first-team mainstays whose contracts expired this summer, and both are ready to follow the lead of team-mates Marvin Bartley, Darren McGregor, David Gray, Ross Laidlaw and Lewis Stevenson, who finalised new two-year deals last week.
Fontaine, the 31-year-old centre-back, is closing in on 100 appearances for Hibs since joining the club three years ago, while Boyle, the 24-year-old attacker, has scored 18 goals since first arriving at the club on loan from Dundee two-and-a-half years ago.
“I think Fontaine’s signed and Martin’s agreed to sign,” Lennon said in an interview with Hibs Fans News.
The future of midfielder Fraser Fyvie, the last remaining Hibs player whose deal expires this summer, is set to be resolved when he returns from his family holiday.
Lennon is confident of securing defender Efe Ambrose, who enjoyed a fruitful short-term loan at Easter Road towards the end of the season, on a permanent basis once his departure from Celtic is confirmed. The manager also remains optimistic that a deal can be struck with FC Ashdod to bring Israeli international goalkeeper Ofir Marciano back to the club after a successful season-long loan. In addition, he is keen to beef up the attacking department of his squad following the departures of Grant Holt, James Keatings, Chris Humphrey and Alex Harris.
“We’re very close to getting Efe over the line,” he said. “We’re really hoping to get Marciano done as well. He’s really keen on staying so we’ve already made strides in that regard. If we can get that sorted, it’ll be a good start for next season.
“Then we’re working on four or five other players to bring in. I need a striker. I’ve lost Holty and James Keatings so it’s really important to get a striker. I’d like to strengthen the wide areas and get a goalscoring midfielder as well. There are three or four key areas we’re looking at.”
Lennon played down any likelihood of former Celtic, Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United defender Kelvin Wilson arriving at Easter Road this summer. The 31-year-old told media earlier this week that he had spoken with Hibs, but Lennon insists that conversation was held in January. He implied that if he is able to add Ambrose to a central defensive unit that already includes Fontaine, McGregor, Paul Hanlon and Jordon Forster, he will need no more players for this position.
“Kelvin Wilson was quoted as saying we had spoken,” said Lennon. “We spoke in January when we had a centre-half crisis but Kelvin didn’t want to come at that time. If we get Efe in the building, I think we’re pretty much almost there with the back four.”