Elias Melkersen latest as Hibs boss Shaun Maloney details improvements in training and progression to matchday squad

Elias Melkersen has made significant progress in the last week or so and is pushing hard to get into the matchday squad, according to Hibs manager Shaun Maloney.

Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 10:30 pm

The 19-year-old striker moved to Edinburgh from Norwegian champions Bodø/Glimt early last month for a significant six-figure fee but is yet to play a competitive game.

The Easter Road side’s lack of goals from strikers since the turn of the year – just one, scored by Kevin Nisbet in extra time of the Scottish Cup fourth-round victory over Cove Rangers last month – has prompted more and more supporters to call for Melkersen’s involvement.

Maloney is keen not to push the Norwegian youth internationalist into action before he’s ready but the player is nevertheless progressing well at East Mains.

Elias Melkersen is progressing well in training

"Elias was always a longer-term project but he is a talented kid. We want to get him to a certain level, if we can, before the end of the season and if not, he needs a pre-season with the group, and letting him adapt will be a big benefit,” Maloney told the Evening News.

"The club had done a lot of work before we signed him, and before I came in. He was a real top talent in Norway and right at the last moment there was quite a lot of interest but the plan was always for him to be between the Hibs first team and the B team, and ideally get him to a point where he was fighting for the number nine position, as quickly as possible.

“It’s important to remember that he effectively came from the second division [in Norway], he’s moved country, and is now living without his parents.

"But there has been a big improvement in him in the last seven to ten days in terms of adapting to the way of training.”

Melkersen’s progress has led to him being named in the matchday squad for the previous two matches without being one of the stripped players. The teenager’s upturn in performances on the training ground have given the coaching staff food for thought, but he faces a stern task in dislodging starting centre-forwards Christian Doidge and Kevin Nisbet.

"Elias has progressed to the matchday squad for the last two games but we also have two really senior nines in Kevin and Christian,” Maloney continued.

“We’re playing with both, so he’s got really good competition. He is a long-term signing and he has to fight for that number nine slot, but I’m definitely happy with the progress he's making."

Maloney is understandably cautious about placing too much expectation on the youngster but admitted that the forward was on track to force his way into contention and would once again be part of the travelling squad for the trip to face Rangers at Ibrox.

"He’s doing really well. It’s going to happen at some point; when he’s doing so well in training you then have to let performances take over. But he’s doing well.

"He’s progressed into the matchday squad, he is pushing hard to get into the matchday 20 and is now adapting into what we’re asking him to do, and to the speed and physicality of coming to this league.

"He will be in the matchday squad [against Rangers] and pushing Kevin and Christian hard.”

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