Hibs’ Liam Fontaine in contention for visit of Motherwell

Liam Fontaine has not played for Hibs since July 25
Liam Fontaine has not played for Hibs since July 25
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Liam Fontaine is expected to return to the Hibs squad for this weekend’s Premiership match at home to Motherwell.

The 31-year-old centre-back missed last Saturday’s 1-1 draw away to St Johnstone after sustaining a minor ankle injury while playing for the development team against Aberdeen last week in a bid to get some match sharpness.

However, he is due to train this week, with a view to being back in the squad for Saturday’s clash with the in-form Steelmen.

“Fonts should be fit and in contention for the weekend,” confirmed head coach Neil Lennon.

Fontaine has been confined to the substitutes’ bench for most of this season, with Efe Ambrose, Paul Hanlon and Darren McGregor having been preferred for starting duty at centre-back. The Englishman’s last appearance, remarkably, came in the 6-1 Betfred Cup victory over Arbroath on July 25.

However, his availability for a return to the match-day squad this weekend will come as a welcome boost to Lennon at a time when McGregor is preparing for a minor knee operation which is likely to keep him sidelined into October.

Lennon revealed that Vykintas Slivka dropped to the substitutes’ bench at McDiarmid Park as a result of a knock he sustained while playing for Lithuania in their double-header against Scotland and Slovenia. The 22-year-old midfielder had started the previous match away to Dundee, but he was replaced in Saturday’s line-up by the fit-again Martin Boyle and remained unused throughout as Hibs seized the upper hand.

“Vicky had a bit of a dead leg coming back from international duty,” said Lennon. “We were worried about fatigue after playing the two games (for Lithuania) and he didn’t train on Friday, so we didn’t take a chance with him from the start. The way we played, we didn’t need to make many substitutions because we were fabulous.”

Hibs face Hamilton Accies in an SPFL Development League match at Oriam at 2pm today.