Marc McNulty, Scott Allan, Efe Ambrose – what can we expect from Hibs on deadline day?
Hibs are expecting to be busy on the final day of the transfer window as they look to bolster their squad for the second half of the season.
Despite being without a head coach after Neil Lennon’s exit was confirmed yesterday, Hibs’ recruitment team will be working around the clock to make moves happen before midnight.
Adding another forward is a priority and the club are inching closer to a deal for Reading striker Marc McNulty. The 26-year-old is not in Royals manager Jose Gomes’ plans and the former Livingston and Sheffield United hitman is Hibs’ main target in attack. An 18-month loan appears the most viable scenario after Hibs had three transfer bids booted out by the Berkshire outfit.
McNulty’s arrival would allow want-away striker Jamie Maclaren to terminate his loan with Hibs and move back to A-League side Melbourne City. Maclaren has asked Hibs to cancel the current agreement with SV Darmstadt, which would then permit him to return to his homeland. The Australian internationalist wants regular game-time - something he has not had this season at Hibs - but the move to Melbourne hinges on Hibs signing off the paperwork before the window closes 11 hours earlier down under.
Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose left Hibs in January, but has yet to sign a deal with another team. The Easter Road hierarchy have reportedly offered him another contract until the end of the season, but face competition from Bolton Wanderers and other clubs. As he is a free agent, that transfer does not necessarily have to happen today. Hibs, however, are in the market for another centre-half, with Ryan Porteous facing a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. At present, Darren McGregor and Paul Hanlon are Hibs’ only fit centre-halves, although veteran Australian Mark Milligan can fill in there.
Hibs are also trying to sign Celtic midfielder Scott Allan in this window rather than wait for his three-year pre-contract agreement to kick in next season. Allan wants to join Hibs this window as he is out of the picture at Celtic and with Hibs failing to land winger Lewis Morgan on loan from the Premiership champions - he has gone to Sunderland - it opens up the possibility of Allan coming in on loan if all parties can come to an agreement.
With Martin Boyle out for the rest of the season, Hibs would ideally want to add a winger too. Daryl Horgan is their only fit wide player right now, although Thomas Agyepong is getting closer to a return after injury.
As Hibs’ squad is down to the bones, it is unlikely any senior players - bar the aforementioned Maclaren - will depart Easter Road today. Main forward Florian Kamberi was the subject of interest earlier in January as his fall-out with Lennon escalated, but he is set to stay. Players from the club’s development squad may be farmed out on loan to lower league outfits should any interest materialise.