Predicted Hibs team to face Dundee United as Jack Ross faces injury and suspension disruption
Injuries, suspensions, and players knackered by long-haul flights back from international duty – Jack Ross has probably had easier times choosing a starting team for Saturday.
Ryan Porteous will miss this match and the trip to Aberdeen next weekend while Christian Doidge, Melker Hallberg, and Sean Mackie remain sidelined. Kyle Magennis is also a doubt for the visit of Dundee United but Jamie Murphy could be in contention for a starting berth following his substitute appearance against Rangers.
With Tam Courts normally favouring a formation similar to the one employed by Steven Gerrard, Ross could keep faith with the formation that served him so well – up to a point – at Ibrox.
GK – Matt Macey
Only injury or suspension currently looks like nudging the 6ft 7in Englishman away from the number one spot in the Hibs team. Macey has performed well in his first full season so far as the Easter Road custodian and is one of the easier decisions for Ross when it comes to selecting his team for matches.
CB – Paul McGinn
Vice-captain and a trusted cog in the Hibs defence. Had some slightly iffy moments at the start of the season but looks to be returning to his consistent best. His versatility in being able to comfortably operate in a three-man defence or at right-back in a back four is a huge boost for Ross and Hibs.
CB – Nathan Wood
Jack Ross gave little away when discussing who might step in for the suspended Ryan Porteous but Nathan Wood may finally get his chance after joining on loan from Middlesbrough during the summer transfer window. Tall, quick, mobile, and ready to prove himself in the first team, he should benefit from having Paul Hanlon and Paul McGinn on either side of him. Captained England Under-20s during the international break and it sounds as though he has done enough to earn a shot at first-team football.
CB – Paul Hanlon
Club captain is still under-appreciated by some sections of the Hibs support but has been a crucial part of the team’s strong start to the season. Along with vice-captain McGinn, the ideal defensive colleague to help Wood through his first game, should he get the nod.
RWB – Chris Cadden
The versatile and dynamic Cadden fashioned Kevin Nisbet’s opener at Ibrox and put in a tremendous shift on the right flank. His energy could come in useful again against United while his defensive nous can also be a benefit.
RCM – Jake Doyle-Hayes
The Irishman has been a revelation since his arrival in the summer, providing an eye for a pass and a robust presence in the midfield. Dovetails so well with Joe Newell and despite a slightly less influential outing than usual against Rangers he will be vital in helping Hibs control the midfield battle against the Taysiders.
LCM – Joe Newell
Classy midfield man scored in the last meeting between these two teams – could lightning strike twice come Saturday afternoon? His recent performances have been close to his best in a Hibs shirt and if he can maintain these levels it will only be good for Hibs.
LWB – Josh Doig
Youngster can sometimes struggle with the defensive side of the game against wily and experienced opponents but is a joy to watch in full-flow when tasked with the more attacking wingback role. With pace to rival that of Martin Boyle and the same energy that serves Cadden well, he should be an important player on Saturday.
CAM – Scott Allan
On recent form there’s next to no chance he doesn’t keep his starting berth. The likely absence of Kyle Magennis through injury should mean Allan operates in the No.10 role, pulling the strings and providing ammo for Kevin Nisbet and Martin Boyle. Unsurprisingly sacrificed for a replacement defender at Ibrox but will hope to feature for longer than 30 minutes against his former club.
RF – Martin Boyle
Had to contend with a long-haul flight back from Tokyo following international duty but even a jet-lagged Martin Boyle would be a handful for most opposition defences, especially at Easter Road. Netted against United last time out from the penalty spot and will be keen to keep his impressive run of form and goals going provided he is passed fit enough to feature. The smart money would be on Boyle featuring from the start.
LF – Kevin Nisbet
Not utilised as much as he might have hoped during the international break for Scotland, limited to just a few minutes off the bench against the Faroe Islands in Tórshavn but that should mean he is champing at the bit to get going again for his club. His goal against Rangers at Ibrox was his first in over a month and he will be looking to pick up where he left off when United come calling. Has worked so hard in the lone striker role but appeared more comfortable in a pair with Boyle against the Light Blues.
Kevin Dabrowski will take the back-up ‘keeper’s spot while Darren McGregor and Lewis Stevenson will likely provide defensive cover. Alex Gogic, Drey Wright, Jamie Murphy, and James Scott are likely to join them on the bench barring any illness or injuries – Gogic and Scott were on international duty with Cyprus and Scotland Under-21s respectively but appear to have emerged unscathed.
Should any of the above fail to be available then Josh Campbell, Jamie Gullan, and Daniel Mackay may be added to the bench.
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