Two reasons why Hibs boss Jack Ross may be forced into transfer market

Injuries to defenders could spark bids - but signing striker Marc McNulty not yet a priority

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 10:30 am
Ryan Porteous was forced off against Dundee United

Jack Ross will discover later today whether the injuries suffered by defenders Ryan Porteous and Jason Naismith during the Scottish Cup clash with Dundee United will force him into an unexpected move in the transfer market.

The Hibs head coach is awaiting the results of scans which Porteous and Naismith have undergone on the knee injuries they sustained within minutes of each other at Tannadice.

And, he admitted, the outcome could lead to him seeking to strengthen an area of his squad he’d previously not been prioritising.

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Adamant his immediate concern is who is available for tomorrow night’s Premiership clash with Hamiton rather than worry about “worst case scenarios”, Ross said: “Knowing they won’t be there allows me to plan for the game and whatever happens after that I will deal with.

“If they are out for a decent period of time then obviously it does affect our plans. Defensively we were okay, but if we lose a full-back and a centre-back then it means we would have to look for a defensive one we were not prioritising.

“If they were both ruled out then it changes what we are looking to do.”

Ross has already added midfielder Stephane Omeonga to his squad, the Belgian Under-21 internationalist returning for a second spell at the club with Stevie Mallan ruled out for the next couple of months following knee surgery.

And, dependent on the news on Porteous and Naismith, he revealed he’d still like “to do one or two other things”, midfielder Josh Vela having been released on a free transfer only months after arriving on a three-year deal.

The 26-year-old former Bolton Wanderers player has joined Shrewsbury Town while goalkeeper Chris Maxwell, is set to sign for another League One club Blackpool after the return of Hungarian internationalist Adam Bogdan knocked him down the pecking order.

Ross said: “That helps us keep the squad nice and lean but I wouldn’t imagine us doing nothing between now and the end of the window.”

A move to bring Scotland striker Marc McNulty back on loan has been widely touted with Ross having signed him on a similar deal for Sunderland from Reading.

He said: “It’s a bit like Dylan (McGeouch) was linked and Aiden (McGeady) was linked. I signed Marc for Sunderland. It’s not like I can say it’s a lazy link because he is a good player.

“But he is with another club albeit he has a parent club and they have control of his destiny at the moment. As far as I am aware at the moment he is part of their (Sunderland’s) plans.

“It’s not a priority area for us at present but should he become available, it might change things.”