Hibs are weighing up whether to recall Sam Stanton from Dumbarton in January as they look to replenish their injury-ravaged midfield for the Championship title run-in.
Scotland internationalist John McGinn is likely to be sidelined until February after undergoing ankle surgery last week, while Fraser Fyvie is awaiting the results of a scan on a groin problem and, depending on the outcome, could be out into the new year.
In addition, Dylan McGeouch has been plagued by hamstring trouble in recent months and has been unable to string together more than three consecutive matches thus far this season. Although fit enough to be considered to start this Friday’s top-of-the-table clash away to Dundee United, it remains to be seen if the former Celtic player is capable of a consistent run of games in the absence of his influential colleagues.
Andrew Shinnie and Marvin Bartley, who has been taking pain-killing injections in order to numb a minor foot problem enough to play in Friday’s game, are the only other senior central midfielders available to Neil Lennon, although the head coach has the option of bringing 19-year-old Scott Martin, who has ten first-team appearances to his name, more prominently into the mix.
However, with so much at stake as Hibs bid to win promotion to the Premiership at the third attempt, management know the squad cannot be understocked going into the second half of the season, and consideration is being given to utilising their option of recalling Stanton when the transfer window reopens in January. There is no prospect of him returning before then.
The 22-year-old joined Dumbarton on a season-long loan three months ago and has been a key player for them in recent months, starting seven Championship matches in a row prior to missing last weekend’s Scottish Cup match with Bonnyrigg Rose due to a groin problem.
In the build-up to that match, Stanton told the Evening News of his belief that he could still re-establish himself at Hibs, to whom he is contracted for another 18 months. Lennon explained early in his tenure that he saw plenty potential in the academy graduate, and with 70 first-team appearances already under his belt for his parent club, he is viewed as a ready-made option to bolster the squad at a crucial phase in the campaign when midfield resources could be stretched.