'When you see a stretcher, you know it's serious' - Hibs boss feared worst

Campbell was left in agony - and Boyle is one of four players jetting off on international duty.Campbell was left in agony - and Boyle is one of four players jetting off on international duty.
Campbell was left in agony - and Boyle is one of four players jetting off on international duty. | SNS Group
Freak collision leaves threadbare Hibs seeking international exemptions

Nick Montgomery admits he was relieved that Josh Campbell hadn’t sustained a more serious injury in the incident that saw the versatile Hibs attacker stretchered off in agony during Wednesday night’s derby loss. But the fact that Campbell was crocked in a collision with one of his own team-mates left the Easter Road boss - already coping with a lengthy injury list - cursing his misfortune.

Montgomery, who revealed yesterday that Hibs had requested dispensation to have international call-ups Martin Boyle, Lewis Miller, Rocky Bushiri and Jojo Wollacott available for Tuesday’s visit of Motherwell, has ben landed with a serious personnel shortage ahead of the final fixture before the winter break. In addition to the quartet being called away to the Asian Cup and Africa Cup of Nations, Campbell has been ruled out for up to four weeks with an ankle sprain. But, having seen the attacking midfielder/winger/stand-in centre forward beating the turf in obvious discomfort early in the second half of a 1-0 loss, Monty said his worst fears had been alleviated.

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“Josh has been great for me, he’s been performing well - and it is unfortunate,” he said, explaining: “He was performing well the other night and I think Dylan Levitt fell on him. I think the ref was in the way at the time as well.

“So to be injured by one of your own players is disappointing, because he has become an integral part of the squad and the team in the last five or weeks after a frustrating start for him. So fingers crossed it’s not as bad as we first thought and we’re hoping, coming into this break, we can get him back on the pitch towards the end of January.

“Again, I think he still has to have a scan; at the moment we’re going off a quick x-ray after the game. But the fact is he is going to be out for a period of time and that just adds to this list we have.

“Josh is a tough lad; he never goes down unless it’s something serious and when you see the stretcher coming on you know it is potentially serious. Fingers crossed it’s not as bad as first feared and I think a scan in the next couple of days when the swelling has gone down will give us a clearer indication of how long he’ll be out.”

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Montgomery, who said Hibs were unlikely to recall any of their on-loan players from season-long arrangements during the January window, admitted that he’d put in a call to Socceroos boss Graham Arnold about getting a day’s leeway for his two Aussies, saying: “We did ask for all the selected players to be available for the Motherwell game and go the next day. But I understand if they let one or two then every club will want their players to do the same and it becomes an issue.

“We officially asked and were told they need to be released on January 1. It’s frustrating for me but what we can’t do is dwell on it. You have to move on and get on with it.

“They (the Socceroos) were understanding before and Martin has been involved in the national team for a while and missed out on the World Cup, which was hard for him. They have every right to call him up and we can’t block it. So we have to accept it and move on.”

The Aussies are among the favourites to go all the way in the Asian Cup, meaning they could be away until February 10, while the AFCON final isn’t until February 11. Asked whether he wants to see his players enjoy international success or come straight home after the group stages, Montgomery admitted to mixed emotions, saying: “You don’t want your better players missing, especially when you’re in the situation we are in where we’re light on bodies. Everybody can see that.

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“But you also want them to do well so yeah, we’ll be watching their games. Potentially they could be missing for three to six games if I have done the maths correctly.

“But we can’t control that. What we can do is try and get the boys back fit and training during the break, which is the challenge I have given the physios. And we’re also looking at trying to bring in a few new faces within the means we have - and that is not easy.”

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