Hibs boss still keen on Marc McNulty return – but is looking at other targets
Paul Heckingbottom has admitted he still has hopes of bringing Scotland striker Marc McNulty back to Easter Road but revealed he also has other targets in mind.
McNulty enjoyed a successful spell on loan at Hibs in the second half of last season after being frozen out at English Championship outfit Reading despite having been a £1 million signing only months earlier. The 26-year-old scored eight goals for Hibs as he helped the Capital club secure a top six finish.
But, with three years of his contract to run, McNulty is due to report back to the Royals for pre-season training on July 1 although his future at the Madjeski Stadium remains clouded by uncertainty while he has admitted continuing to play in the Premiership on this side of the Border can only enhance his chances of adding to his two Scotland caps to date.
At present, Heckingbottom only has Flo Kamberi and Oli Shaw as frontmen, an area he admits he has to strengthen for the coming season with, he disclosed, “conversations” still taking place in regard to McNulty.
And while he insisted he hasn’t imposed a “cut-off point”, Heckingbottom pointed out it was only prudent to be considering an alternative plan saying: “You can’t throw all your eggs into one basket. We are looking at other targets.
“There’s no point putting a date on it so there’s no cut-off point until we find a better replacement or are going to miss out by keeping someone waiting. But, if Sparky comes towards us, great.”
Meanwhile, Heckingbottom is resigned to having to wait until midfielder Stephane Omeonga’s European Championship campaign with Belgium’s Under-21 side in Italy is over before discovering whether it will be possible to lure him back to Edinburgh.
Like McNulty, Omeonga proved a big hit with the Hibs support but he is under contract to Serie A outfit Genoa which is up for sale and, conceded Heckingbottom, he could well draw further attention to himself with his performances over the next few weeks.
He said: “Stephane wants to sign. We want to sign him but we will have to wait to see if we can do it. I don’t think Stephane has been in a better place, playing competitive first-team football every week. He fought to force his way into our side and deserved to stay in it.”