Alan Stubbs today revealed he might make four signings in the January transfer window after Swedish goalkeeper Marcus Sandberg arrived at Easter Road on a week-long trial.
The Hibs head coach expects 24-year-old Sandberg to be the first of several players given a chance to shine over the coming weeks as he looks to strengthen his squad although he insisted he’ll follow the same approach adopted during the summer when he held out for quality rather than quantity despite having taken over a shrunken pool.
However, Stubbs believes he will be better prepared this time round having identified both the positions he wants to strengthen and possible targets.
He said: “The good thing about this window is we have had time to prepare, in the last one we did not. Everything happened very quickly, we had to do a lot of our work in the space of four to six weeks.
“This time we’ve had four months to prepare which is much better.”
Although delighted with the way in which his team – currently unbeaten in eight matches in the Championship – has evolved, he said: “The lads have done really well, but football doesn’t stand still. We have to look to keep improving as much as we can and whoever comes in will have to be better than we have – or as good.
“I’m not going to bring anyone in to be an under-study, they need to be able to get into the team and put in the same type of performance as the one he is replacing.
“There are certain positions we’d like to strengthen throughout the team, some to give us a bit more back-up.
“We’ve identified the positions and possible targets. Things change all the time so while we have one or two in mind we’d like to pursue, we need to have other options that could be available should plan A not come to fruition.
“The closer we get to the window opening, circumstances will change, players will be looking to possibly go out on loan or clubs will be looking to release them. It’s wheeling and dealing basically.”
Stubbs, who anticipates departures as well as arrivals, hopes to make signings as early as possible but he’s prepared to be patient, pointing out how that approach resulted in the arrival of players like Scott Allan, Dylan McGeouch and Dominique Malonga.
Revealing he wouldn’t be surprised if “three or four” signings were made, Stubbs added: “I would like to get some players in early if we can but if it means me getting the ones I want then I’ll wait a few weeks.”
The fact the Swedish season has ended and Sandberg’s contract with IFK Gothenburg runs out at the end of the year has given Stubbs an early opportunity to cast an eye over the 24-year-old as he looks to stiffen competition for current No.1 Mark Oxley, whom he hopes to keep at the club beyond his loan deal from Hull City expiring next month. “Marcus has a decent pedigree, club so this could be an opportunity for us and him,” said Stubbs.