Wright last started a match for Hibs on the final day of the 2020/21 season and prior to the weekend had played just 129 minutes in all competitions since the start of the current campaign. The former St Johnstone man showed no signs of rustiness as he helped Hibs to a third league win on the bounce and second under Maloney’s leadership.
Speaking after the Boxing Day triumph the Easter Road manager said: “I brought Drey in on the basis of what I have seen in training.
“He’s someone who understands the position I asked him to play and that was relevant for the Dundee United game.
“I didn’t know he hadn’t started for eight months, so to come in and play like he did was top from him.
“He can be very happy with his contribution and can have his break now and come back ready to work hard ahead of the second half of the season.”
Wright might not be the only player whose Hibs career could be resuscitated by Maloney. The 38-year-old boss has repeatedly spoken of his desire to give everyone a fresh start at the Capital club – even those such as Wright, who at one point in August looked to be on his way to St Mirren along with fellow midfielder Scott Allan as part of a deal taking Buddies talisman Jamie McGrath to Edinburgh.
The move didn’t materialise after the relevant paperwork wasn’t completed in time, but Maloney is happy to give every member of the squad a chance to stake their claim for a place in his squad for the second half of the season.
He continued: “Whenever I have spoken to any of the players since I arrived, I have been very neutral with everyone.
“Whatever they did in the past under the previous manager or managers before that, I am neutral about that. They will all get opportunities.
“If there are players who have offers and want to pursue something elsewhere then I will support them in that.
“But there will definitely be players who may not have played much that I want to keep.”
Maloney’s desire to give everyone a fair crack of the whip isn’t an indication of a quiet January, however. The former Belgium No.2 is prepared to dip into the transfer market in a bid to bolster his squad with third place and European football a not unrealistic aim come the end of the season.
“I said at the start I would prioritise what’s in the building, although I do think we are light in certain positions,” Maloney revealed.
“There is a tough schedule coming up when we get back playing, so we will look at one or two areas of the team.
“We will look at what we already have because we will need everyone at some point. I can’t see lots of players coming in, but we will assess it.
“Ideally we would have any new players on the first day back but that’s me speaking as a coach and I understand things don’t always work as easily as that. If not, we have the full month.”