Lee Johnson plans to trim Hibs squad in January as he laments 'inherited problem'
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A replacement for talismanic forward Martin Boyle, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, would be ideal but Johnson has hinted that outgoings will be just as important as bringing in quality additions.
"The first thing we need to do is trim the squad. We’ve got far too many players at the club who I don’t see as infiltrating the first team over short to medium term. It can cause you problems when you have an overinflated squad because people want to play football, he explained.
"This is a problem I feel that has almost been inherited. I must have written down 70 things I saw as problems, and their solutions, and who’s going to act on those solutions. We work away to solve the problems but at the same time believe in the ones we’ve got, those 14/15 players, get them physically right and make them feel a million dollars to come out of the traps absolutely flying against Rangers.”
Johnson is also of the opinion that the Hibs budget could do with being tweaked, as he stressed the importance of signing quality players as well as reducing his squad size – and offered a ray of hope for the side’s talented youngsters.
"We need to put money back into the kitty to allow me and Ben Kensell the CEO to distribute that wisely back into the football club. When the budgets were set it was under a previous manager, and I think everybody naturally would use that money differently, aligned to the way they work and what they believe is the way forward,” he continued.
"That’s why this is a medium to long-term project: to make sure all the solutions are implemented and we get the windows required to have the natural adjustments with players and – most importantly – keep bringing in quality. It’s not about the dilution of numbers; it’s quality, given that I think we have five or six young players who, over the next 18 months to two-and-a-half years, can really implement their qualities on the squad at our level."