Martin Boyle close to a return but Hibs won't push him

Robbie Stockdale hints that his weekend could be the time

Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 6:00 am
Martin Boyle is keen to return

Robbie Stockdale has admitted there’s a huge temptation to rush Martin Boyle back into action in a bid to help kick-start Hibs’ faltering season with Saturday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic following tonight’s league clash with

Livingston.

Boyle has been sidelined following a second knee operation of the year as the Easter Road side have gone nine games without a win, a run which has them just a single point off bottom place in the Premiership table.

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Injured while on international duty with Australia, Boyle was ruled out of the second half of last season as he recovered from surgery only to damage the same knee in only his third match back, and he hasn’t played since the end of July.

Head coach Paul Heckingbottom has regularly confirmed the 26-year-old is making good progress while the player himself has frequently taken to social media to indicate his desire to get back into action.

But, insisted Stockdale, Boyle’s welfare must be the over-riding consideration. The assistant head coach said: “Martin has been out a long time with two nasty injuries. There is always a temptation to put players back in as soon as you can. I think we have to have a responsibility and a wellness issue to him, that we have to do it properly by him even although we would love to have him involved.”

Intriguingly, however, when asked if there was any chance Boyle might be available for the weekend, Stockdale replied: “Come back to me on Thursday.”

Meanwhile, Stockdale has challenged the players, without a win since the opening day of the season, to “stand up and be counted” against

Livingston.

He said: “They are a tough team, full of experienced men. We have watched them a lot, we have been to the games and they have picked up some really good results.

“It will be a tough, tough game and our players have to stand up and be counted, especially in tough times.

“This is where you find the players who are brave, who will still take the ball, stick the chest out when they go on the pitch. That’s what we need.

“Everybody is wanting to do well, everybody is trying to get over the line and once it happens, I am sure it will happen time and time again.”