Hibs midfielder Vykintas Slivka is facing a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s match against Premiership basement side Dundee after returning from international duty with an ankle injury.
The 23-year-old made a second-half appearance as Lithuania lost their UEFA Nations League match with Romania in Bucharest 3-0 at the weekend and was due to travel with his team-mates for the second leg of their double-header against Serbia. But, instead of heading for Belgrade – where Lithuania suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat on Tuesday night – Slyvka headed back to Hibs’ East Mains training centre for treatment.
Explaining the decision, Lithuanian physician Tomas Kadusauskas revealed Slivka “suffered repeated injuries” in the match against Romania although he didn’t disclose the extent or severity of them.
Nevertheless, it would have been worrying news for Hibs boss Neil Lennon, who has had to contend with a string of injuries to key players such as Darren McGregor, Florian Kamberi, Jamie Maclaren, David Gray and Paul Hanlon over the course of the past few weeks.
While McGregor, Kamberi and Maclaren have all returned to action, defenders Gray and Hanlon have missed the last four and six matches respectively although the numerous interruptions to the season the Capital outfit have endured has meant both have been out for around two months.
Although Lennon hopes both will have recovered from the leg injuries, the length of time they’ve been sidelined will impact on their readiness to play. And Lennon has a further headache in that his Aussie contingent of Mark Milligan, Martin Boyle and Maclaren won’t rejoin his squad until tomorrow following the gruelling 10,500-mile, 26-hour return journey from Sydney where Boyle scored two of the Socceroos’ goals in their 3-0 win over Lebanon.
All three will be assessed then, as will Gray and Hanlon, before Lennon makes a final decision on the squad which he’ll task with ending Hibs’ run of four matches without a win, a record which has seen them slip from second to eighth place in the table.