Hibs hope Anthony Stokes’ future will be clear by end of week

Anthony Stokes is being lined up for a third spell with Hibs
Anthony Stokes is being lined up for a third spell with Hibs
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Hibs hope to know by the end of the week whether striker Anthony Stokes will be joining the Easter Road club for a third time.

Talks between the club, the 28-year-old and his representatives have been ongoing for a while with boss Neil Lennon having made adding firepower to his frontline a priority following the departure of Jason Cummings – top scorer in each of the last three seasons – to Nottingham Forest. That bid to strengthen his attack has suffered a blow with Wales striker Simon Church turning down an offer to join the club.

Lennon has already brought in striker Simon Murray from Dundee United but has only Brian Graham and 19-year-old Oli Shaw currently at his disposal and knows Republic of Ireland hitman Stokes well having been his manager at Celtic.

Although insisting he is happy overall with the squad he currently has – Steven Whittaker became his fifth signing of the summer following the arrivals of Danny Swanson, Murray, Efe Ambrose and Ofir Marciano – Lennon has also stressed his desire to add further quality as Hibs prepare for their return to the Premiership following a three-year absence.

Chief executive Leeann Dempster has promised Lennon he’ll get the backing to do so having revealed season-ticket sales have soared beyond 12,000 – an all-time record – and it is known Stokes is high on the manager’s wanted list having seen a move to Blackburn Rovers turn sour, the Lancashire club having been relegated to English football’s League One.

It is understood Hibs remain in a positive mood in regard to tempting Stokes, a hero of their historic Scottish Cup triumph of two years ago with his two goals against Rangers in the final, back to Edinburgh. However, they’ll undoubtedly have told the player that they can’t wait forever for an answer, with Lennon ready to turn to alternative targets if he decides his future lies elsewhere.