Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup has refused to write off Hibs’ Europa League chances, despite Pat Fenlon’s side going down 2-0 to Swedish outfit Malmo in the first leg of their second qualifying round tie.
Laudrup will have both Hibs and Malmo watched in Thursday night’s second leg at Easter Road, with the prize of a trip to the English League Cup holders’ Liberty Stadium next week.
While Malmo undoubtedly hold the upper hand thanks to those goals from Jiloan Hamad and Magnus Eriksson at the Swedbank Stadion last week, Laudrup admitted he was just happy with the draw for the third qualifying round, having revealed his fear the Swans could have been facing a long trip to a far-flung country.
The former Danish midfielder said: “It was important for me that we avoided a long trip and the prospect of some difficult weather conditions. Sweden or Scotland is perfect for us geographically, We also know the playing styles of both teams, so that is also a positive for us, although I would have preferred to be away in the first leg rather than at home – but you can’t have everything.
“Malmo are a huge club in Sweden with a proven record and proud history, but I am sure Hibs will be in there fighting until the end.”
Should Hibs overcome the odds and progress, it would set up a reunion for summer signing Owain Tudur Jones, who spent four seasons with Swansea. Current club captain Garry Monk said: “I’m sure OJT will be relishing that one.”
Meanwhile, Hibs target James Collins has revealed he won’t be rushed into a move to Edinburgh with English Championship outfit Huddersfield Town among those also said to be showing an interest in the Swindon Town striker.
Collins remained behind as the Robins headed for a pre-season training camp in Portugal to get his future sorted out with Hibs reported to have had a £200,000 bid for the 22-year-old accepted. However, it is understood wages could prove to be an obstacle with Collins already believed to earn around £3500 a week at League One Swindon.
Collins admitted to having made some inquiries of his own about Hibs, but added: “I don’t want to get ahead of myself because I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t want to rush into anything becasue my next move is an important one for my career and I’ve got to make sure it is right.”