Hibs boss Neil Lennon today revealed he has to run the rule over West Brom goalkeeper Alex Palmer as Mark Oxley prepares to move to English League One outfit Southend United.
Oxley played as a substitute in last night’s 6-1 win over Edinburgh City, the second of Hibs’ pre-season matches, but it would appear it will be his final appearance for the Capital club.
However, Lennon insisted it wouldn’t be a case of finding a replacement before allowing the 25-year-old, who has played 92 games for Hibs, to move on.
Palmer, he said, will feature in Sunday’s friendly against Motherwell at Easter Road, Hibs’ last game before they face Brondby in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, the Danish club having completed a 10-1 aggregate victory over Valur Reykjavik with a 6-0 win in Copenhagen.
Disclosing he “imagined” Oxley’s move would go through, Lennon said of 19-year-old Palmer: “We’ll have a look at him, we have permission from West Brom and the SFA so he’ll get a run-out on Sunday.”
However, the signing deadline for the Europa League closes tonight with Lennon admitting he didn’t envisage much business being done before then, voicing his faith in Finnish Under-21 goalkeeper Otso Virtanen with former Raith Rovers man Ross Laidlaw having been signed as back-up.
The Hibs manager said: “If Otso needs to play on Thursday he plays. He has played in Scandinavian football, he’s played a good number of games.”
Virtanen had little to do at Meadowbank, playing for 69 minutes before being replaced by Oxley as Hibs hit the League Two newcomers with four goals inside the first half hour, Darren McGregor, Jason Cummings, Martin Boyle and Sam Stanton all scoring before Ousman See claimed a consolation strike for City only for James Keatings and Danny Handling to add two more before the final whistle. Lennon said: “We don’t know what Otso can do yet, we won’t know until we test him. But we are looking to bring in another goalkeeper as well.”
As for last night’s match, Lennon said: “We were excellent. We got six and it could have been a lot more. The attitude of the players was excellent considering they had only played 48 hours earlier.
“It gives you confidence, a decent scoreline in the headlines. The goals were shared around. I thought Jason played really well in the first half and set the tone for the team.”
Lennon went with a 4-2-3-1 formation, saying: “We were having a look. When you have wingers it’s important to play with a bit of width at times. We’ve got Boyle, Dan Carmichael and Alex Harris with pace so we wanted to look at it. Now we step up with Motherwell before Brondby.”
Lennon had decided against going to see Brondby last night given they had won the first leg in Iceland 4-1 last week but he was well aware of how they had done. He said: “They are a crack side but by all accounts Valur heads went down early.
“But the tie was already over, We know what we are going to face, we’ll prepare as best we can and have a go.”