Alan Stubbs says summer signing Dan Carmichael must remain patient as he struggles to command regular game time at Hibs.
The 25-year-old attacking midfielder became the Easter Road side’s second recruit of the close-season when he joined from Queen of the South five months ago.
However, he has featured in only six of his team’s 18 competitive matches this term and hasn’t made it off the substitutes’ bench since the 3-0 win away to his former club at the start of last month.
Carmichael’s last start came in the 1-0 defeat away by Rangers on August 23, and Stubbs cites a niggling injury problem and the fact that his on-form team are on a 13-game unbeaten run as the reasons Carmichael has been restricted to the role of unused sub.
“Dan just needs to be patient,” the head coach told the Evening News. “That’s the case for everyone who’s not in the team. They understand the situation. The team’s winning and the players who are in the team at this moment in time are doing well. They just need to be ready when the opportunity arises.
“We’ve got no problem with Dan. We brought him in because we felt he could be a good addition to the squad and he has been. It’s just a case of the players that have been in the team doing so well. He’s also had a niggling groin injury that’s not really clearing up. That’s something we’ll have to look at as we go along because It’s probably prevented him being involved as much as he or I would have liked.”
Carmichael got a rare outing when he and fellow first-team player Jordon Forster started for the development side against Hearts on Tuesday.
“Jordon and Dan haven’t played in the last few weeks, so it was just a case of getting them some game time,” Stubbs explained. “When I asked them if they wanted to play for the 20s, they had no problem with it whatsoever.”
On-loan Dundee United striker Henri Anier also featured on Tuesday as he works his way towards a first Hibs outing, although Adam Eckersley, who is also waiting to make his first-team debut, was left out due to the fact the game was against his former club. The ex-Hearts left-back was on the bench for the first time in last week’s League Cup quarter-final win over Dundee United and Stubbs believes he is close to being ready for action. The Englishman is only signed until January, but could find his services required as regular left-back Lewis Stevenson is just one booking away from suspension after picking up his fifth league caution of the season against St Mirren last weekend.
“I don’t think Adam’s far away,” said Stubbs. “He just needs a little bit of sharpness. Ideally we’d like to get another 20s game into him. Because it was Hearts the other night and he’d just come from there, we felt it made sense not to play him in that one. We’re really starting to up his workload now in order to get him ready for being around the first team.”
Danny Handling remains sidelined until the new year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in July. However, Dylan McGeouch is expected to return to the side for Tuesday’s Championship match at home to Livingston after missing the last two games with the injury that forced him off early in the recent win over Rangers.