Hibs defender returns to training to boost Paul Heckingbottom’s options

Hibs defender Darnell Johnson has returned to training following a spell on the sidelines through injury.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 1:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 1:48 pm

The Leicester City youngster has made just one appearance for the Easter Road side since joining on loan during the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old was a second-half replacement for David Gray as Hibs went down 2-0 to Celtic at Parkhead. Johnson was later hit with a retrospective two-match ban for a challenge on Hoops defender Emilio Izaguirre.

His suspension and subsequent injury left Paul Heckingbottom with just two fit first-team centre-backs in Paul Hanlon and Darren McGregor, with Mark Milligan slotting into the back four for the 2-0 win over Motherwell on March 16 after McGregor was sent off against Rangers in a 1-1 draw earlier this month.

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Darnell Johnson, second right, has returned to training. Picture: SNS Group

American international Jonathan Spector signed a short-term deal to provide back-up in defence, following Efe Ambrose’s departure in January and Ryan Porteous suffering a season-ending injury towards the end of 2018, but the return of Johnson will further boost Hibs’ hopes of carrying on their good run under Heckingbottom with pre-split matches against Livingston on Friday night, Kilmarnock next midweek and Hearts on Saturday April 6.