Since Steve Clarke became manager of Kilmarnock the Ayrshire side have only lost to two teams. One is Aberdeen. And the other is the Edinburgh Hibees.
While it was a stuffy 1-1 draw the last time the sides met at Easter Road, Neil Lennon’s side ran out 3-0 winners on their previous visit to Rugby Park.
Winners of their last four, Killie will prove a stern test on Saturday, though Hibs should feel buoyed by the last two results as they managed to vanquish the two sides immediately above them in the league table, hauling themselves back into the hunt for the runners-up spot behind Celtic.
Steven Whittaker is nearing a return for Hibernian but will not make the trip to Kilmarnock. The defender has been out with a pelvic injury since before Christmas but has returned to training and his manager hopes to have him available to face Hamilton next week.
Fellow right-back David Gray is recovering from an Achilles injury and will be out for another three weeks, while Brandon Barker is still nursing a hamstring problem. Back up goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw is due back in April.
Vykintas Slivka is also expected to miss the match with a calf complaint.
“Psychologically it was good to win the last two games, I don’t think many people would have envisaged that,” said Lennon. “But I’m not even sure that we’ll go into the game as favourites. That shows how well Kilmarnock are playing.
“It’s another great challenge for us and one we’re looking forward to. We will go there and try to impose our game and win if we can.
“It’s important that we don’t ruin the previous two results by spoiling some of the momentum.”
Kilmarnock will be without Gordon Greer, Alan Power and Stevie Smith through injury. January signing Aaron Tshibola returns after missing the win over Motherwell through illness and Gary Dicker is back from suspension.
Last five meetings: Hibs 1-1 Kilmarnock; Kilmarnock 0-3 Hibs; Hibs 0-1 Kilmarnock; Kilmarnock 1-1 Hibs; Hibs 3-0 Kilmarnock
Likely Kilmarnock XI (4-4-2): MacDonald; O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Boyd, Taylor; McKenzie, Dicker, Mulumbu, Jones; Brophy, Boyd. Subs from: Fasan, Findlay, Wilson, Simpson, Burkie, Tshibola, Frizzell, Kiltie, Erwin.
Likely Hibs XI (3-5-2): Marciano; Ambrose, McGregor, Hanlon; Boyle, McGinn, McGeouch, Allan, Stevenson; Maclaren, Kamberi. Subs from: Bell, Rherras, Mackie, Porteous, Swanson, Bartley, F Murray, Shaw
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Kick-off: 12.30pm (Sky Sports Football)
Odds: Kilmarnock 29/10 Draw 23/10 Hibs 21/20
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