Motherwell v Hibs preview: Fan favourite pushing for a start | where to play Scott Allan? | incredible Hibs-Motherwell scoring run

Hibs go into tomorrow's clash with Motherwell looking to get back to winning ways in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 3:18 pm
Ryan Porteous last played for Hibs away to Motherwell in January.

Paul Heckingbottom's side started the season well enough, defeating St Mirren at Easter Road - a result which looks better in hindsight as St Mirren have since proven themselves to be a tough opponent in this year's top flight - but have since been hammered by Rangers, struggled against Morton and then held at home by St Johnstone.

Last weekend saw discontent from the stands as fans questioned the stationing of Scott Allan in a wide-midfield role and then booed the decision to take him off.

Heckingbottom has stood firm in his insistence that, at the end of the day, it's his decision and the fans aren't always going to like it.

Ryan Porteous last played for Hibs away to Motherwell in January.

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It will be interesting to see whether Allan returns to his natural No.10 role or if his manager has other plans.

Hibs team news

David Gray has been ruled out for 12 weeks after sustaining knee ligament damage in last weekend's 2-2 draw with St Johnstone. His place in the team will likely be taken by Steven Whittaker. Centre-back Ryan Porteous is pushing for a start after returning to training, though there is unlikely to be a spot for new signing Melker Hallberg as he needs to build up his fitness. Tom James, Darren McGregor and Martin Boyle remain out injured.

Possible Hibs line-up

Marciano; Whittaker, Jackson, Hanlon, Stevenson; Mallan, Vela; Horgan, Allan, Middleton; Kamberi. Subs from: Maxwell, Slivka, Doidge, Newell, Shaw, Murray, Mackie

Magic number

68 - It would appear only fitting that these two sides, who shared the most iconic high-scoring match in recent Scottish football history, would have gone decades without a 0-0 draw. That goes all the way back to the mid-90s. There have been 68 scoring fixtures since.

Key battle

It's a toss up between Scott Allan and Flo Kamberi for the most influential player in the Hibs side at the moment. This weekend it'll be the former who will face the sterner test and if he can come through it then Hibs will have a chance at claiming victory. If he's restored to his strongest position at No.10 he'll come up against Liam Donnelly. Not only will Allan have to elude the defensive midfielder in the attacking third, he'll also have to track his opponent down the other end as Donnelly is a threat in the penalty area.

What the manager said

“We know we’re on the right path and pushing the right way, but we also know there will be ups and downs, wins and losses along the way. There will be more kicks in the teeth like last weekend, but likewise I look forward to when we score in the 94th minute and get the win. If we do that against Motherwell this weekend, even if we play worse than we did last week, everyone’s happy and it’s a totally different vibe.

“As daft as it sounds, last weekend we were ten seconds away from being fourth and in the quarter-final of the cup. It’s different isn’t it? How things can change."

Referee

It's the first time that Steven McLean has refereed a Hibs game since their 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock towards the end of last season. They're unbeaten in three games involving the experienced whistler, including a 1-1 draw with Rangers where the away side were incensed that he didn't blow for a foul in the build up to Hibs' equaliser.

Odds

Motherwell 13/10 Draw 12/5 Hibs 2/1