Hibs have learned that David Gray is likely to be out for between two and three months with the Achilles injury he sustained in Friday’s friendly against Willem II in the Algarve.
Easter Road head coach Neil Lennon initially feared his captain may not play again this season but there is a chance he may be able to avoid undergoing surgery and return in the spring. With Steven Whittaker struggling with an ongoing pelvic problem, Lennon currently has no senior right-back to call on. It remains to be seen if any other new faces will be recruited before Sunday’s Scottish Cup fourth-round trip to Tynecastle to face Hearts, whose only January signing so far is on-loan Manchester United left-back Demetri Mitchell.
“Both sides are trying to recruit and add to their squads at the moment, so it will be interesting to see how both sides line up for the game,” said Lennon, who is relishing the prospect of a derby match to resume the campaign after a three-week winter break. “We’ve had the winter break and I think everyone is itching to get back to the football and there is no better game than Hearts in the Edinburgh derby.
“I think it will be tense. We played them just before the break and there was nothing in the game really – apart from a goal we scored that was disallowed!
“Psychologically, I think our players are very strong and they enjoy these games.
“We are in this cycle where we are unbeaten in nine games and obviously it’s up to the players to keep that run going, whether it be in the league or in the cup.
“It means so much to both sets of fans and every derby is different. The last one is forgotten about and we go on to this one, the atmosphere will be fantastic.”