Hibs boss Alan Stubbs has urged Islam Feruz to stay and fight for his place at Easter Road rather than make an early return to Chelsea.
Stubbs pulled off a major surprise when he secured the signing of the former Celtic forward on a season-long deal from the Stamford Bridge outfit.
But the 20-year-old has failed to hold down a place in Stubbs’ side, having not started a game and having made only five appearances as a substitute, amounting to just 56 minutes of first-team action.
It’s a situation that’s led to speculation that Feruz, who had seen earlier loan deals to OFI Crete, Blackpool and Russian Second Division club Krylia Sovetov not work out, might cut short his stay in the Capital and return to London during the January transfer window.
Stubbs, however, has insisted it’s only his team’s current impressive run of 16 matches without defeat which has kept Feruz and others on the sidelines.
Stubbs said: “We are not looking at anyone leaving, but I can understand that Izzy would have liked to have got more game time. That is the same with every player who has not been in the team, but every player needs to understand that when the team is winning they are the ones who deserve to keep the shirt.
“I have tried to mix it here and there when I could without affecting the balance of the team too much.
“If he decides he wants to go back to Chelsea then that will be his decision. My decision would be for him to stay and fight for his place. If he goes back it will be not through ourselves.”