Hibs boss Neil Lennon is confident three key players will be fit for the start of the Championship season after missing the final two warm-up matches.
Skipper David Gray and midfielders Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley all sat out the victories over Birmingham City and Shrewsbury Town but are expected to be ready to face Falkirk on Saturday.
But Fraser Fyvie and Danny Handling will both be absent as they recover from knee injuries and are expected to be out of action for a few weeks.
However, having declared himself satisfied with his squad’s pre-season programme, five matches undefeated and 16 goals scored in addition to those two competitive games in the Europa League against Brondby, Lennon believes his players are now ready to reproduce that level of performance as they start their bid to clinch promotion to the Premiership.
And hopes of beginning that quest with a victory over the team which pipped them to second place last season before ending their promotion hopes in the play-offs, should be boosted by the return of Gray, who suffered a shoulder injury in Copenhagen after scoring the goal which levelled the tie, McGeouch (hamstring) and Bartley (back).
Lennon said: “David began training on Saturday which was a bit ahead of schedule, although he felt a little fatigue in the shoulder towards the end of the session. But we are hoping he will be okay.
“Marvin has a back problem which has been on-going and we didn’t want to take too many gambles with him. He should also be okay for the weekend along with Dylan, who had a very slight hamstring problem.”
Lennon also revealed that youngsters Scott Martin and Callum Crane are very much in his thoughts, the pair having returned from loan spells last season with Forfar Athletic and Berwick Rangers respectively to feature over the course of the past few weeks.
He said: “I like what I am seeing. Their attitude has been exemplary. They are good footballers. They need a bit of physical development, but that will come.”
• Hibs’ Betfred Cup second-round tie against Queen of the South has been confirmed to take place at Easter Road on Tuesday, August 9, kick-off 7.45pm.