Hibs boss Alan Stubbs is inching towards having a full squad available for the first time this season with four injury victims stepping up their rehabilitation by taking part in a bounce match.
Striker James Keatings, defender Jordan Forster and midfielders Fraser Fyvie and Islam Feruz all came through a Hibs v Hibs game at the club’s East Mains training centre.
Stubbs has been dogged by injuries since the Petrofac Training Cup tie against Rangers at the end of July when, he admits, he struggled to put a first team on the pitch, the opening couple of games seeing a string of untried teenagers on the bench as his options were severely stretched.
With Danny Handling already ruled out for the first half of the season, having torn his cruciate ligament in a friendly against Berwick, a hamstring problem sustained by Forster that day compounded his problems with new Keatings and Dan Carmichael also sidelined at that time.
Keatings made a brief return only to be laid low again while Fyvie was struck down by a hamstring injury at the end of August, with surprise signing Feruz also added to the casualty list shortly after his arrival.
But Stubbs had expressed the hope that the international break would allow him to give the quarter “to get some game time”. They did so as Stubbs staged a game at East Mains with Jamie Insall, who had played the full 90 minutes of the development team’s match against Ross County in midweek, also involved.
Farid El Alagui, who had also played the entire game in Dingawll didn’t, however, the striker being nursed back to full fitness following his ruptured Achilles tendon.
And Stubbs was expecting further good news with ex-Hearts defender Adam Eckersley due to begin full training for the first time on Monday having recovered from a knee injury although on-loan Dundee United frontman Henri Anier is a further week away from doing so.