Hibs v Molde: Match preview, possible teams, key battle

Hibs are put through their paces at East Mains ahead of facing Molde. Picture: SNS Group
Hibs are put through their paces at East Mains ahead of facing Molde. Picture: SNS Group
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Hibs host Molde tonight in the Europa League third qualifying round at Easter Road.

The Capital club are without John McGinn, who has completed a move to English Championship side Aston Villa but the Norwegians will almost certainly be without the highly rated Erling Braut Haaland - the 18-year-old left the team hotel last night to fly to Austria for talks with Red Bull Salzburg and as such, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to shuffle his pack.

Aside from that, the former Manchester United and Norway international striker has a full squad to choose from, with no fresh injury worries.

Neil Lennon is without Darren McGregor, who is suffering from a knee complaint, while Ofir Marciano is still sidelined as he recovers from a finger injury.

It remains to be seen if Lennon will opt for a 3-5-2 / 3-1-4-2 formation or whether he will mix it up following McGinn’s departure. Molde are likely to stick to their 4-3-3 and so Haaland’s absence could see Fredrik Brustad handed a starting berth for the visitors while Vykintas Slivka could be brought into the Hibs midfield.

Emerson Hyndman could get a seat on the subs bench after completing a loan move from Bournemouth but Thomas Agyepong won’t be included.

Key battle

Eirik Hestad, who will likely start on the left of Molde’s attacking trio, could come up against David Gray. The Hibs captain was in barnstorming form against Asteras Tripolis in the home leg and scored the second in an impressive comeback. He’ll need to be at his best to repel Hestad’s creativity.

Referee

Adam Farkas, from Hungary, is the man in charge this evening. The 36-year-old has refereed five European games; four Europa League qualifiers and one Champions League qualifier. He booked nine players over the four Europa League matches, and awarded three penalties.

The bulk of his appointments have, unsurprisingly, been in the Hungarian top flight, but he’s also taken charge of games in the Saudi Professional League and the Hungarian Cup as well as international friendlies and underage European Championship qualifiers.

Possible teams

Hibs: Bogdan; Gray, Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson; Boyle, Bartley, Slivka, Mallan; Kamberi, Shaw. Subs from: Laidlaw, Porteous, Mackie, Whittaker, S Martin, Hyndman, Swanson, Maclaren, Gullan.

Molde: Linde; Remmer, Gabrielson, Forren, Haugen; Hussain, Sarr, Aursnes; Cibicki, Brustad, Hestad. Subs from: Rankmark, Eikrem, James, Strand, Gregersen, Chima.

Kick-off: 7.45pm