Lennon eyes new Hibs recruits but is braced for McGinn bids

Neil Lennon intends to bolster his Hibs squad in the upcoming transfer window. However, the manager explained that the level of January recruitment will be dependent on whether or not the club are able to resist any offers for star man John McGinn.

Wednesday, 15th November 2017, 5:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:03 pm
Neil Lennon is expecting bids for Hibs midfielder John McGinn in January. Pic: SNS

Hibs currently sit third in the Ladbrokes Premiership despite being depleted by a string of injuries to key men like Darren McGregor, Steven Whittaker, David Gray and Anthony Stokes. Lennon is wary of the fact his squad has had a threadbare look in recent weeks, particularly in defence, and, as a result, is already plotting to bring in at least one new face. The potential departure of Scotland midfielder McGinn, whose stock level has continued to soar since he was the subject of failed offers from Nottingham Forest in August, would necessitate further transfer 
activity at Easter Road.

“I would like a bit more depth to the squad,” Lennon told the Evening News. “Going into the Dundee game, we only had 18 fit players and by half-time we’d lost three of them. We’re a little bit light in numbers so we’ll look in January to see if we can strengthen. I don’t want to over-egg the squad either but we will look at areas where we could do with an extra body.

“We’ve had a bad run with injuries, which is outwith our control, but we will look to add one or two to the squad. Plus there is probably an inevitability about bids coming in, particularly John. We have to be realistic about that, weigh it up and be prepared for that eventuality if it does happen. If the club get an offer that they can’t refuse, that could potentially alter what we’ve got to spend. I’m hoping that won’t be the case, but the way John’s playing, it’s going to be very hard to hold on to him for the foreseeable future.”

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Lennon explained that any January business is likely to hinge on how his squad is looking towards the end of next month. “You can’t have a clear idea at this stage because you don’t know what’s around the corner in terms of injuries and things like that,” he said. “We are looking at players for recruitment in January and hopefully we can get one or two in of the quality who can help us do what we want to do, as opposed to just being squad fillers. We definitely don’t want a big overhaul though. Continuity has been really important for us.”

Lennon confirmed that there has been no further movement with regard to the possibility of Kris Commons returning to Hibs. The 34-year-old, who is now a free agent after leaving Celtic in the summer, had a fruitful month on loan at Easter Road last winter and Lennon has never hidden the fact he would be keen to land the attacker once more if he can regain full fitness following a back problem. “There’s nothing at the minute with Commons,” said the manager. “I don’t think he’s back in full training yet. We didn’t feel he would be ready until the turn of the year anyway, so we’ll just keep an eye on that.”