Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom ponders new signings ahead of transfer deadline

Paul Heckingbottom admits Hibs could yet add another new face before the transfer window closes on Monday night.

Friday, 30th August 2019, 6:30 am
Updated Friday, 30th August 2019, 7:30 am
Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom has some thinking to do

The head coach insists no arrivals are imminent but the news that captain David Gray will be out for three months with knee ligament damage – adding to other injury problems in the defence – means he must consider bringing in reinforcements.

In addition, Hibs are continuing to monitor alternative attacking options in order to allow Oli Shaw to go out on loan and get the game time he craves.

Confirmation that right-back Gray will be sidelined until late November came yesterday, within weeks of fellow defenders Tom James and Darren McGregor being sidelined by injuries of their own. Lewis Stevenson and Ryan Porteous, meanwhile, are still working their way back towards fitness following their respective lay-offs.

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When asked if he would have to bring in cover to compensate for a shortage of fully-fit defenders, Heckingbottom said: “We need to be looking, whether that is before Monday or the best free agents after the window. As it stands, we’ve got enough bodies but it’s not ideal because not all of them have been training or playing all through pre-season so we would like them to be in better shape. Although we’ve got enough bodies, one more injury changes everything so we have to be ready.”

The attack is also an area of focus for potential transfer activity, with Shaw, who hasn’t started a match since February, in line to leave on loan. As one of only three forwards at the club, this will only happen if Hibs can source another striker to replace him.

“You know Oli was looking to go out on loan and there’s clubs who’ll take him but that’ll only happen if we get someone suitable in for the same sort of money,” explained Heckingbottom. “It’s definitely possible. Oli wants games, he doesn’t want to leave Hibs, he wants to be here. We understand that but we see the benefit in sending him out to get him playing and closer to our team. He’s hit a plateau here where we need to kick him on again. But he’s also part of our squad and unless we can get someone in to replace him, we’d be silly to do it. It’s tough because we can only spend the money we’re bringing in for him.”

Hibs had a busy transfer-deadline day last time round, with Darnell Johnson, Gael Bigirimana and Marc McNulty all arriving late on in January. Heckingbottom, while not anticipating any major business, says his club will be prepared for all possibilities over the coming days.

“We’ve just got to be ready to respond to anything,” he said. “I could sit here and say nothing’s going to happen but if someone suddenly wants one of our lads, we have to go as if we’re going to the wire and prepare for ‘what ifs’ in every position.”