Hibs boss Pat Fenlon today backed striker James Collins, telling his players: “Give him the service and he’ll get us goals.”
Collins has failed to find the net in four matches since making a £200,000 move from Swindon Town, but Fenlon insisted that it is only a matter of time before the 22-year-old hits the goals trail along with former St Johnstone hitman Rowan Vine, who has also yet to score for the Easter Road club.
Fenlon said: “James is a goal-scorer, he’s scored goals for the last few seasons, but we need to give him a little bit better service, to get more balls into the box for him and give him that opportunity to get his first goal for us.
“It’s taken James a little time to settle in. He has not scored a goal, but I think he has been good for us. His work-rate has been good, his link-up play has been decent and his all-round contribution has been okay.
“His game has been fine. We need to give him a bit more service, that’s probably the key to it.”
Although Collins and Vine have yet to score in a green-and-white shirt, Fenlon believes the pair have the making of a good partnership.
He said: “Centre-halfs, centre-forwards, central midfield, sometimes it needs time to gel. But they are two good players, two different players in their own right as well.
“You look at last week against Kilmarnock when Rowan goes out wide and crosses for Liam Craig to score – it might have been James on the end of it. It’s just a little break like that for him, for both of them, because I think Rowan will score goals as well once he gets on a decent run.”
Fenlon is hoping to improve the supply to Collins and Vine by clinching a deal to bring Northern Ireland winger Josh Carson to Easter Road. The 20-year-old has been told by Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy he is surplus to requirements and has impressed during a week’s trial at East Mains.
Fenlon insisted, however, his move for Carson hadn’t been prompted by the long-term injuries to wide men Paul Cairney and Alex Harris. He said: “Before they were injured we recognised we probably needed a wide one who might be able to play both sides.
“Them being out leaves us short in the wide areas. Josh has been training with us for a week. I know him from previously, I’ve seen him play and know a bit about him. He’s done quite well in training but there’s nothing concrete yet.
“He is an Ipswich player, so I’ll speak to Mick McCarthy and see where that one goes, but we do have one or two other options at the moment.
“I’d like to think we can get one in before tomorrow, but you always get to the stage in the transfer window where you think you are nearly there and then something crops up.”
Hibs have been drawn at home to Stranraer, 3-2 winners against Ross County in midweek, in the third round of the League Cup. The tie will take place at Easter Road on Tuesday, September 24.