Hibs v Kilmarnock: Slivka to start? | Battle for top six | Goals on the radar?
Hibs host Kilmarnock in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Wednesday evening, looking for a vital three points in their bid to cement a top-six finish.
A win, or a draw, would see Killie extend their lead over Aberdeen in third place, but a loss would risk the Dons leapfrogging the Ayrshire side with a win over Motherwell who visit Pittodrie this midweek.
Hibs ideally need a win to stave off the challenge of the Steelmen, who are five points behind Hibs in the race for that last top-six spot.
However, wins for Hibs and ‘Well would see Kilmarnock stay third, Hibs move to within a point of the Dons and the Fir Park side onto 46 points.
Rangers host Hearts at Ibrox on Wednesday, and Hibs could leapfrog their Capital rivals ahead of their trip to Tynecastle with a win over Killie and a home win at Ibrox.
Paul Heckingbottom is likely to keep faith with the same starting team that lined up against Livingston on Friday night, although he may consider swapping Stephane Omeonga for Vykintas Slivka after the Lithuanian impressed in his substitute appearance at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Adam Bogdan remains sidelined after suffering a concussion in the Scottish Cup third-round clash against Elgin so Kevin Dabrowski will continue with back-up goalkeeper duties.
Winger Thomas Agyepong, midfielder Ryan Gauld and defender Darnell Johnson are back in training, but long-term casualties Martin Boyle and Ryan Porteous, along with utility man Steven Whittaker, remain sidelined.
Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones is a doubt with a shoulder complaint but forward Eamonn Brophy is out with a hamstring problem.
Injuries / suspensions / unavailable
Hibs: Thomas Agyepong (recovery), Adam Bogdan (concussion), Martin Boyle (knee), Ryan Gauld (hamstring), Ryan Porteous (knee), Steven Whittaker (groin), Darnell Johnson (recovery).
Kilmarnock: Eamonn Brophy (hamstring), Jordan Jones (shoulder; doubtful)
Hibs: Marciano; Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson; Milligan; Omeonga, Mallan; Horgan; Kamberi, McNulty. Subs from: Dabrowski, Nelom, Mackie, Spector, Bartley, F Murray, Bigirimana, Shaw, Allan.
Kilmarnock: Bachmann, O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor, Mulumbu, Dicker, Tshibola, McAleny, Boyd, McKenzie. Subs from: MacDonald, Bruce, Frizzell, Burke, Power, Millar, Waters, Ndjoli, Millen.
Magic number - 22
The number of goals shared between the two sides in their last five meetings - literally. Both teams have scored 11 goals apiece.
Darren McGregor will be looking forward at taking on former Rangers team-mate Kris Boyd. The Hibs defender has been in good form in recent matches and will be looking to record another impressive display by shutting out the veteran striker.
Kilmarnock danger men
Kris Boyd is always liable to cause problems in the opposition penalty area while Rory McKenzie, likely to fill in for Jordan Jones, can also pose a threat.
Kilmarnock have won just three of their last 15 visits to Easter Road - one which consigned Hibs to the relegation play-offs in 2013/14, a 1-0 win in 2012 and an astonishing 4-2 win in December 2008 that saw a red card for Killie ‘keeper Alan Combe - now Hibs’ goalie coach - and two penalties for Hibs.
Steven McLean takes charge of this game, and will be assisted by Jordan Stokoe and Michael Banks. Scott Millar is on fourth-official duties.