Jack Ross reveals Hibs defensive concerns ahead of Arsenal friendly
Jack Ross is struggling for bodies in the Hibs defensive ranks ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly with Arsenal.
Ryan Porteous and Darren McGregor played the full 90 minutes in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City as the Easter Road side wrapped up their pre-season training camp in England at the bet365 Stadium.
Midfielders Chris Cadden and Josh Campbell shared right-back duties with Josh Doig returning at left-back before making way for Lewis Stevenson on the hour mark but Paul Hanlon and Paul McGinn were both missing after featuring in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat by Accrington Stanley.
Young centre-back Jack Brydon travelled with the first-team squad for the training camp but has not featured in either match while David Gray’s retirement has reduced the number of available defenders. Left-back Sean Mackie has also been with the squad in England but hasn’t trained through injury.
Speaking to Hibs’ official website the head coach said: “A couple of the lads got 90 minutes [against Stoke] through necessity because we’re a little light defensively at the moment because of injuries.
"It was good for Ryan and Darren to do that.”
Alex Gogic was utilised as a centre-back in the final stages of the Accrington game and got another 90 minutes under his belt after returning to East Mains after his team-mates following international duty, along with Kevin Nisbet, who was another delayed returnee after featuring for Scotland in their Euro 2020 games.
“Alex missed a part of pre-season so it’s good for him. Kevin wanted to play the whole game, and he’s looked sharp and strong. I’m pleased they came through it,” Ross added.
“It was brilliant for us today. It was nice to come to a stadium and play against a good quality of opposition as well.
“There’s lots to be pleased about for all the players that were on the pitch today.”
The Hibs boss was also pleased to see his players cope with a mid-game system change.
“Our ability to go from a back three to a back four or vice-versa at the start or during games helped us last season,” he explained.
“Today was a good example of how it can help and it enabled us to look more of a threat in the latter part of the game as well.”