Hibs team news ahead of Ross County trip as key players return and midfielders remain sidelined

Hibs travel to Dingwall to take on Ross County on Saturday and three points would keep them within touching distance of Celtic and Rangers as well as keeping distance between themselves and fourth-placed Aberdeen.
Jack Ross has a number of players back availableJack Ross has a number of players back available
Jack Ross has a number of players back available

A number of players are available for selection after missing some or all of the Betfred Cup triple-header, but there is still a handful of squad members who will miss the trip north.

Injury comebacks

A mixture of injuries and international duty robbed Jack Ross of 11 first-team players for the midweek Betfred Cup win against Forfar Athletic but the Easter Road head coach has been boosted by the majority of those players returning to training and thus contention for the trip to Dingwall.

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Joe Newell sustained an injury in the 3-2 victory over Hamilton earlier this month but was back with the group at East Mains on Friday and stands a chance of being involved in Saturday's fixture.

Lewis Stevenson also missed the trip to Angus but the long-serving left-back, and fellow defender Sean Mackie – who played the full 90 minutes at Station Park – are both available for selection with Josh Doig continuing his period of self-isolation after Scotland Under-19 coach Billy Stark tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Scotland trio Paul Hanlon, Paul McGinn, and Ryan Porteous all returned injury-free, as did Cyprus midfielder Alex Gogic and Israel goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.

Who’s still out?

Stevie Mallan had a busy Betfred Cup week, scoring twice in the 3-1 win against Brora Rangers, playing the full 90 minutes against Cove Rangers, and notching the assist for David Gray's goal in the 1-0 victory over Forfar.

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However, the midfielder didn’t appear to take part in training on Friday which casts doubt on his involvement.

Scott Allan remains sidelined and is likely to be joined by Jamie Murphy and Drey Wright, neither of whom participated in training on Friday.

The absence of two wide players should see young winger Steven Bradley, who made his first-team debut as a late substitute against Forfar, keep his place on the bench.

Any surprises?

Melker Hallberg performed well as an auxiliary right-back in the absence of Paul McGinn but the latter’s consistency will almost certainly see him return to the starting line-up. Kyle Magennis could possibly start over Joe Newell depending on the former Rotherham man’s fitness levels but beyond that Ross will want as strong a team as possible as Hibs look to continue their impressive start to the league campaign.

Possible team?

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Ofir Marciano is likely to resume goalkeeping duties while three-quarters of the first-choice defence in McGinn, Hanlon, and Porteous are likely to be restored to the backline.

Jack Ross will have to make a call on whether Mackie or Lewis Stevenson gets the nod at left-back.

Kyle Magennis could be pushing for a start in midfield having been given an hour against Forfar, while Jamie Gullan is likely to continue at left midfield.

Possible team: Marciano; P McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Stevenson; Boyle, Gogic, Newell, Gullan; Doidge, Nisbet. Subs from: Barnes, Gray, McGregor, Mackie, Hallberg, S McGinn, Magennis, Bradley, Shanley.

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