Hibs: Paul Heckingbottom gives update on Ryan Porteous as key trio returns to training
Ryan Porteous has returned to Hibs training, but the Scotland Under-21 defender is still "a long way away" from full fitness, head coach Paul Heckingbottom has said.
David Gray, Vykintas Slivka and Lewis Stevenson have also been taking part in training sessions after missing the bulk of pre-season. Lithuanian midfielder Slivka has overcome a hip injury sustained on international duty last month while long-serving left-back Stevenson suffered a calf injury earlier in the summer. Gray has been sidelined with swelling on his knee.
Porteous is recovering from a long-term knee injury that saw him miss the second half of last season.
While Slivka and possibly Stevenson could be back in the first-team fold sooner rather than later, Heckingbottom warned there will be no quick-fire return to top-flight action for Porteous.
He said: “Ryan has been out a long time. He has done a lot of running but we need to make sure we get more football into him before we put him on the pitch.
"Even then he will be a long way away from the fitness levels he had at Christmas.
“He knows that and he is working hard, but he can also see the big jumps he is making every week, which is pleasing for him and for us.”
Porteous will be battling Adam Jackson, Darren McGregor and Paul Hanlon for a place in Hibs’ defence while Slivka will beef up Heckingbottom's options in central midfield. Stevenson will be hoping to wrestle back the left-back slot from Sean Mackie, who has proved an able deputy in the veteran defender's absence.