Neil Lennon confident of signing keeper Ofir Marciano
Hibs boss Neil Lennon expects to tie up Israeli international goalkeeper Ofir Marciano on a season-long loan deal within the next few days as he aims to add three new players to his squad.
Marciano has clocked up 139 appearances for his hometown club Ashdod, but the 26-year-old, who has ten full caps, spent last season on loan with Belgian side Royal Excel Mouscron.
Lennon admitted Marciano was one of a number of players he is pursuing, but the 6ft 4in stopper looks set to become his third signing of the summer following the arrivals of striker Grant Holt and former Raith Rovers goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw.
Lennon knows Marciano’s representative Dudo Dahan well from his days with Celtic, the agent having been instrumental in sealing the deals which brought Beram Kayal, Nir Bitton and Efe Ambrose to Glasgow.
Lennon said: “We are hopeful of bringing in Marciano on loan, possibly at the weekend and if not at the start of next week. If we can get that one over the line we’d be delighted. He’s contracted to a club in Israel and has been on loan in Belgium, but he’s back with his parent club now.
“I know his agent pretty well and he did some good stuff over the years for me at Celtic.”
Lennon also confirmed he’s made an approach to bring midfielder Liam Henderson back to Hibs but, as yet, hasn’t heard anything from Celtic. He said: “We’ve made a call and that’s it.
“Brendan [Celtic manager Rodgers] will want to assess his squad and is probably still in the process of doing that so I can’t speculate what will happen there.”
Lennon has been linked with other names, most notably Ross County striker Brian Graham and Alloa Athletic forward Isaac Layne, but insisted: “It’s purely speculation.
“If I could add three more players I would be happy, but I don’t think the squad here needs major surgery. I think it’s a little bit thin in terms of size but I’ve been delighted with what I’ve seen so far, the attitude and quality of the players.
“We had a brilliant performance and result in Denmark followed up by another good display by, not what I would call a reserve side, but the rest of the squad against Birmingham City on Sunday.”
Lennon revealed, though, that Fraser Fyvie will be out for “a few weeks”, having had an injection for the medial ligament problem which forced him to miss the Europa League games while fellow midfielder Dylan McGeouch has suffered a hamstring problem.
Tomorrow’s friendly against Shrewsbury Town will see Hibs finalise their preparations for the coming Championship season, kicking off at Falkirk where their promotion hopes ended only a few months ago, with Lennon emphasising the need to make a good start, the Capital club having been guilty of losing two of their first three league games in each of the last two campaigns.
But he believes the experience he and his assistant Garry Parker will bring to bear will benefit his players. He said: “I think it is important that we do start the season well, which we probably didn’t do last year.
“Then we had a bad spell early on in the new year which is obviously something we have to look at and factor in moving forward. I think there’s a good group there, a lot of inexperience as well.
“And that’s maybe where myself and Garry come in. We have been the course and distance before. We have won championships and we need to pass that on to the players.
“It will be interesting to see how the opening game pans out. I used to have rubbish pre-seasons and done okay – now we’re having a decent one so we are a bit wary about it.”