Jack Ross has say on threadbare Hibs squad as he hints at new signings this week
Head coach desperate to add to squad
Hibs head coach Jack Ross has insisted having only 18 players available for the weekend trip to Fir Park has underlined the need to make new signings before the transfer window closes on Friday night.
Long-term injuries to Ryan Porteous, Stevie Mallan and Jason Naismith - allied to the departures of fringe players Oli Shaw, Josh Vela and Chris Maxwell - have left Ross’ squad stretched, skipper David Gray falling victim to a bug further exacerbating the situation as Hibs prepared to face Motherwell.
In the absence of Gray - who had started his first match since August in the midweek win over Hamilton - Ross turned to Tom James to fill the right back berth, the former Yeovil Town player starting his first game in three months, while it was centre back Adam Jackson’s second start in that time.
Further forward, Stephane Omeonga was on from the start for the first time since playing for Cercle Brugge before returning, again on loan, from Italian club Genoa, while youngsters Jamie Gullan and Fraser Murray took a seat on the bench.
“Everyone who was available was stripped,” said the head coach, who hopes to bring in at least two players this week.
“We’ve gone from a relatively healthy position to one that’s stretched a bit. We’ve had to make a lot of changes, there’s been no real continuity to it.
“But it’s testament to the character of the group but also players like Adam and Tom, the way they have trained in the interim period has been good and they were ready to go and have produced good performances.
“But we are pushing to try to get two players in and I am hopeful of at least two this week. If we do that we will be in a better position. We might do more, but certainly two in and no more out would be the plan for this week. Hopefully that proves to be the case.”
Ross admitted the lack of options he currently has had forced him to push Omeonga into action sooner than planned, the 23-year-old brought on at half-time against Hamilton following a dire opening 45 minutes from his side although they did go on to win.
He said: “Stephane has good natural fitness levels, but we tried to ease him in but he probably came on sooner midweek having the full 45 minutes and it was a big ask to get through the 90 minutes but he did well.
“That’s the risk when you recruit in the January window, often it is players who haven’t been playing regularly, but his natural fitness levels helped him cope with that. He gives us a different dynamic, that’s the reason we brought him back to the club.
“He has a competitive nature about him, he covers a lot of distance, he makes tackles and he picks up second balls. We feel he brings something different and he has shown that over the game and a half he has played.”