Hibs striker given '50/50' chance of being fit for St Johnstone trip as Lee Johnson makes 'home game' claim

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Hibs manager Lee Johnson believes the backing from a large travelling support at McDiarmid Park on Saturday can help make their crucial clash with St Johnstone feel like a home game.

More than 3,000 Hibees have bought their tickets to cheer on the Easter Road side in their efforts to secure a place in the cinch Premiership top six, which they hope to use as a springboard to qualifying for European football next season.

Previewing the trip to Perth, Johnson said: “I talked about the derby victory being a club win and I think the fans have a massive part to play in this one too. We're taking more than 3,000 so we've got to make it like a home game, and strengthen that rapport between the players and fans – we talked about how brilliant it was last week when everyone is up for it and aligned.

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"Whether it's a big tackle or who gets who going early on, when it's positive and powerful, you could almost kick the ball out of play and get a clap and that's what we need. It's a really important three points for us for two reasons: one, to secure top six and two, because we need those three points to get us to where we need to be.”

The Hibs players are put through their paces at HTC ahead of the trip to McDiarmid ParkThe Hibs players are put through their paces at HTC ahead of the trip to McDiarmid Park
The Hibs players are put through their paces at HTC ahead of the trip to McDiarmid Park

Johnson will have more or less the same personnel available for the trip up the M90 but will give Mykola Kukharevych until the last possible moment to prove his fitness, but Rocky Bushiri is on track to return to full training next week.

"Mykola is probably fifty-fifty; he's picked up a slight tweak on the hamstring,” Johnson explained. “It could be fatigue, it could be the sheath of the muscle, but he's getting a scan and hopefully he'll be okay for the weekend. Rocky was back in training on Thursday for the first part of the session; Saturday will be too soon for him but it's good to have him back in and around it from a character level just as much as it is a playing level."

The rest of the squad is in good health with just minor knocks and niggles stemming from last weekend’s derby game, while longer-term absentees Martin Boyle, Kyle Magennis, and Aiden McGeady remain sidelined.

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