Rotation is on the cards for Hibs boss amid hectic run

Jack Ross will consider fresh faces as big names lie in wait

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 6:00 am
Jack Ross has used just 14 players in his first three matches

Jack Ross has assured those players who haven’t featured since he became head coach of Hibs that he hasn’t forgotten about them.

Ross has used just 14 players in his first three matches, naming the same starting XI for the games against Motherwell,

St Mirren and Kilmarnock, and making the exact same three substitutions in each of

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them.

And, he admitted, the fact Hibs won the first two and drew with Killie to take seven points made it more difficult to contemplate changes although, as the club’s punishing programme continues with tomorrow’s match against Ross County in Dingwall followed by matches against Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Livingston to follow before the winter break, he is likely to consider freshening up his team.

He said: “Every time you get another game into the schedule your first thought immediately after the game is ‘do we need a freshness about it?’ But then, of course, you come back in and the players look bright and bubbly and that can cloud your thinking a bit. At the moment it is not as if they are not playing well, they are playing well.

“That makes if more difficult to freshen things up. We will weigh it up but I imagine as we get further into this period we will start to freshen things up.

“But I think the easiest thing is when you are winning games and playing well it probably makes your selection a

little bit easier and with a bit of fortune in terms of people

staying healthy.

“The hardest bit is what you do with players who are not playing because you have to ensure they stay at a certain level of fitness so it is probably making sure you are creative enough with your training rather than doing something for the sake of doing it.

“So we put as much effort into sessions we plan for the players at this stage than we would do if the whole group was training. It is important to keep them not just physically in the right condition but also mentally in the right place should they be required.

“That’s the key aspect; when you are in a run of games people can sometimes forget about the ones on the bench or not even stripped. But they are just as important in this period.

“It becomes about how much you work with them but also your communication with them and how much time and effort you are prepared to put in and speak to the players, not just about football.

“It is important they always feel valued as part of the group. You will have disagreements with players over whether they don’t play or whether they come on, etc. I have never had an issue with that.

“But probably on the human level you need to make sure you remember them and care about them, especially if you are doing well because if you are winning games and playing well that’s the time you can get carried away and forget about them. But they are just as important as the players who are starting games.”

Ross revealed he’s already learned a lot about the squad he inherited from Paul Heckingbottom and expects to continue to do so over the course of this month as his thoughts begin to turn to what’s needed in the transfer window although he doesn’t anticipate having to make too many changes pointing out that Hibs are currently on a run of nine Premiership matches

unbeaten.

He said: “There’s a decent balance in the squad. There are maybe one or two areas we can look at, but in general I didn’t walk into a group with a lot of problems. I think there were a lot of good things that went on under Paul as well, the unbeaten run we are on shows that they must have been a good side.

“I know people will point at it and say there should have ben more wins, but we have not lost many games. I am learning all the time. I always knew between taking the job and getting to the start of the winter break we’d learn a lot in a short period of time because of the number of games crammed in.

“Initially in the first couple of games my sole focus only wanted to be on what I had here and would I be able to get the best out of them. But certainly in the coming days I might have more time taken up by that. It’s difficult when you are in the midst of this run of games, but equally a lot easier when you have the support around the club.”