HIBS boss Pat Fenlon has revealed he’s still striving to strengthen his Easter Road squad with the new SPL season only days away.
Fenlon has brought in James McPake, Paul Cairney, Tim Clancy and Ben Williams in recent weeks as well as negotiating the return of Leigh Griffiths on another loan deal but, following his side’s final warm-up match, a 2-2 draw with English Championship outfit Huddersfield Town, he admitted he’s been frustrated at missing out on a couple of targets.
He will, however, make up his mind shortly as to whether to offer former Hearts star Alan Maybury – who has played a part in all of Hibs’ pre-season games – and ex-Falkirk, Dundee United, Aberdeen and Dunfermline midfielder Mark Kerr, a second-half trialist against Huddersfield, contracts.
But Fenlon insisted that ability alone wasn’t enough, adamant signings need to display a willingness and desire to move Hibs forward rather than, as he claimed had happened in previous years, players arriving at Easter Road “just for the sake of coming here.”
Fenlon believes his patience has paid off in the shape of the new arrivals to date and is determined to get the right characters even if that means taking a bit longer than both he and the fans may like. He said: “We are trying to strengthen. I know that’s a little bit frustrating for the supporters and I understand that totally. There’s no-one more frustrated than me but we are trying to bring in the right kind of player. In a couple of cases we’ve been out-done by clubs in Scotland and we have to live with that.
“But we are stil working away. We want to have players who want to come here, that’s important. I think over the years we’ve had too many players here who have come just for the sake of coming here. That’s what we are trying to change, that they are not here just because it’s a big club with great facilities, but because they want to progress the football club.
“Making sure that character is right is part of the deal as well as being able to play.”
In saying that, Fenlon expressed a confidence that the team he fields at Tannadice on Sunday for the opening game of the season will be a match for Dundee United.
Revealing he’s close to having made up his mind as to his starting line-up, he said: “There’s maybe one or two positions we are mulling over but I am fairly confident the team we will put out will be a match for United.”