Hibs v Kilmarnock preview: Hanlon a doubt, Kamberi back, Milligan to start?

Hibs face Kilmarnock at Easter Road on Saturday. Picture: SNS Group
Hibs face Kilmarnock at Easter Road on Saturday. Picture: SNS Group
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Hibs welcome Kilmarnock to Easter Road on Saturday with the eight-goal thriller last time out still fresh in the memory.

Neil Lennon has been handed a timely boost with the return of several key players to match fitness, and no injuries sustained by any Hibees on international duty.

Fans’ favourite Florian Kamberi should return to the squad although the big Swiss striker is likely to start on the bench, while Marvin Bartley should also be fit for a place in the squad.

Hibs supporters could also get their first glimpse of Mark Milligan in the green and white after the Australian midfielder secured his work permit.

Darren McGregor is back training and his return could prove vital with the long-serving Paul Hanlon an injury doubt,

Hanlon’s likely absence could force Lennon into a reshuffle from his favoured 3-5-2 formation, with a flat back four a possibility.

Steve Clarke is hoping to have Greg Taylor available. The left back pulled out of Scotland Under-21 duty with a hamstring niggle but returned to training on Thursday so stands an outside chance of making the team.

Jack Byrne could make his debut for Killie in the mdifield after his move from Oldham.

Injuries / suspensions / unavailable

Hibs - Paul Hanlon is nursing a hamnstring injury while Ofir Marciano is still working his way back from a finger injury.

Kilmarnock - Gary Dicker serves the second match of his suspension following a red card against Hearts and misses out while Aaron Tshibola is struggling with a hip knock.

• READ MORE - Revealed: The line up Hibs fans picked to face Kilmarnock

Magic number

18 - the number of goals scored in the last five fixtures involving the two sides.

Key battle

Jamie Maclaren has already netted once for Hibs following his return on a season-long loan from SV Darmstadt 98 but he’ll be eyeing more goals. Kirk Broadfoot could have a busy afternoon keeping the Australian striker quiet.

Key stats

Hibs haven’t lost a competitive fixture at Easter Road since December 2017, in a 2-1 loss to Rangers. They’ve only lost once at Easter Road in 2018 - and that was a 2-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers in Paul Hanlon’s testimonial match.

Kilmarnock on the other hand have conceded just one goal so far this season - the best record in the Scottish top flight - and haven’t lost an away match since May.

Referee

John Beaton will be the man in the middle for the teams’ fifth match this season. In the 22 matches involving Hibs that he has taken charge of he has awarded three penalties, shown three red cards and booked 45 players. Of the 22 matches Hibs have lost eight, drawn seven and won seven.

Possible teams

Hibs: Bogdan; Gray, Ambrose, Porteous, Stevenson; Milligan; Boyle, Mallan, Horgan; Maclaren, Shaw. Subs from: Laidlaw, McGregor, Whittaker, Slivka, Hyndman, Agyepong, Bartley, F Murray, Mackie, Allan, Kamberi.

Kilmarnock: MacDonald; O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor; Power, Byrne; Burke, Jones; Stewart, Brophy. Subs from: Bachmann, S Boyd, McKenzie, K Boyd, Nicholl, Waters, Wilson.

Kick-off: 3pm