Hibs loan out development squad pair to East Fife and FC Edinburgh

Hibs have loaned out two development squad players to lower-league sides in a bid to increase their SPFL experience.

Belgian midfielder Allan Delferriere is the third player to join partner club FC Edinburgh in League One, where he will team up with Easter Road colleagues Jack Brydon and Emmanuel Johnson, while Joao Balde – who signed for Hibs from Lowland League outfit Civil Service Strollers in January before seeing out the season on loan at Christie Gillies Park – heads to League Two side East Fife where he will play under former Hibs striker Stevie Crawford.

Both players will turn out for their loan sides and the Hibs development side this season.

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Speaking about Balde’s switch, Academy chief Steve Kean said: “East Fife are a League Two side, so that’s a higher standard from where Joao played last season.

“As he’s slightly older – born in 2001 – he has a greater need to play competitive football than some of our younger players.

“The mix of competitive games and the high-quality nature of our games programme will accelerate his development.”

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Crawford added: “We are delighted to add Joao to our squad. He brings something different to what we already have, and he can play in a number of positions which gives us more options. He is very comfortable on the ball, has good energy and we are looking forward to working with him this season”.

Hibs have an option to recall Delferriere in January, and he will continue to train with the development squad during his loan spell at Meadowbank.

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Allan Delferriere in action against Dimitris Giannoulis during the pre-season friendly between Hibs and Norwich City

Kean added: “Our priority for Allan was gaining him regular minutes and consistency in his gametime.

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“With him potentially playing twice a week – once with the development squad and once with FC Edinburgh – he will constantly be pushing himself and working towards impressing in a game situation.

“FC Edinburgh will provide a good standard of competitive football and the fact he’s got Jack Brydon and EJ with him will help him make a smooth transition. He will also continue to work closely with us, so we can develop his game and watch how he develops.”

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Both players have featured for the development squad in pre-season, with Delferriere scoring the opener in the 6-1 victory over Dunbar United at New Countess Park last week.

Joao Balde in action for the Hibs development side in a pre-season friendly against Tranent Juniors. Picture: Maurice Dougan