Hibs boss Lee Johnson rates Martin Boyle's chances of starting against Rangers

Hibs manager Lee Johnson reckons it is ‘possible’ that Martin Boyle could start for the Easter Road side against Rangers on Saturday – but stressed the importance of balancing the attacker’s workload.
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The Australian internationalist has come off the bench against Hearts and Livingston – scoring an injury-time equaliser against the former – since returning to the Capital from Saudi Arabian side Al-Faisaly but is yet to start.

Hibs are managing the player who, while fit, didn’t have a proper pre-season.

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Speaking ahead of the Scottish Premiership meeting with the Light Blues at Easter Road, Johnson played down the chance of Boyle completing 90 minutes just yet.

“It’s possible. It’s been a delicate balance to increase his fitness but maintain his freshness.

“Wednesday was a good example. He had a very good [training] session, he was very bright and typical Boyle in terms of taking someone on, having a laugh and scoring the goal all in one.

“But on Thursday we decided to keep him off his feet completely and keep him in the gym, because he was showing signs of fatigue based on his wellness questionnaire and his physical data.”

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The 29-year-old came on for the last 28 minutes of the Edinburgh derby before playing the second period in West Lothian, and Johnson has stressed the importance of increasing his playing time incrementally.

Lee Johnson is keen to start Martin Boyle but appreciates the importance of not overloading the playerLee Johnson is keen to start Martin Boyle but appreciates the importance of not overloading the player
Lee Johnson is keen to start Martin Boyle but appreciates the importance of not overloading the player

“It is that push and pull with him a little bit, at the moment,” he explained.

“Obviously, we want to get him in that starting line-up as quickly as possible, but the next step, at best, after 45 minutes is probably 60 or 70 minutes max.”