Hibs defender Tom James told first-team opportunities at Hibs will be limited next season

Tom James has made 13 appearances for Hibs.Tom James has made 13 appearances for Hibs.
Tom James has made 13 appearances for Hibs.
Welsh full-back has been unable to break into Easter Road starting XI

Tom James has been told that first-team opportunities will be limited at Hibs this season.

The 24-year-old joined the Easter Road club last season from Yeovil Town, but has made only 13 appearances and has fallen out of the picture under head coach Jack Ross.

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The Welshman, who can cover a variety of positions in defence, was signed by Paul Heckingbottom and started last season as first-choice right-back, only to be injured on the opening day of 2019/20 campaign against St Mirren. He managed to regain his place once fully fit, but since Ross’ arrival in late November, James has only featured in two matches – a 0-0 draw against Motherwell and a 4-2 Scottish Cup win over Dundee United.

Hibs are well-stocked in the right-back department, with club captain David Gray and Paul McGinn capable of playing in that position, and the Evening News understands that James was told at the beginning of this week that chances in the first team will be sporadic.

The Wales Under-21 internationalist still has two years remaining on his Hibs deal and the club would be open to letting him leave if the right deal was to come to fruition.

James was highly coveted before making the switch from Somerset to Edinburgh last summer, with a clutch of clubs in the English Championship keen to sign him, and his stock is still high enough for him to be of interest for many teams south of the border.

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With the Premiership set to kick off on August 1, Ross is busy preparing his squad for the first match of the campaign when Kilmarnock visit the Capital.

Former St Johnstone winger Drey Wright has been training at East Mains and is widely expected to be Ross’ first signing, while Hibs also hold an interest in ex-Hamilton midfielder Alex Gogic.

Forward Florian Kamberi is expected to depart before the start of the campaign, with Rangers rekindling their interest in a player they had on loan last season.

However, the club are in the midst of a cost-cutting exercise due to financial pressures arising from the coronavirus crisis, with a consultation process taking place and redundancies anticipated behind the scenes.