More arrivals imminent at Easter Road
Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom is set to continue his drive to reshape his squad ahead of the new season with the signing of a new goalkeeper and defensive midfielder.
Heckingbottom has already overseen five new arrivals, with Adam Jackson, Joe Newell, Christian Doidge and Tom James joining playmaker Scott Allan who had agreed a pre-contract deal to come to the club for a third time before the former Barnsley and Leeds United manager took over from Neil Lennon.
But with Hungarian international goalkeeper Adam Bogdan being one of 12 players who departed at the end of last season, his loan spell from Liverpool having come to an end, Heckingbottom currently only has Israeli cap Ofir Marciano as an experienced No.1, with promising Polish youngster Kevin Dabrowski yet to be tested at first-team level.
The head coach has reportedly made a bid to bring Preston North End goalkeeper Chris Maxwell to Edinburgh on a season-long loan agreement to offer competition for the gloves, but sources in Lancashire have indicated the clubs remain apart as to how much of the 28-year-old’s wages Hibs would be expected to foot during that period.
From middle to front Heckingbottom now appears well-equipped with Martin Boyle’s return to fitness from the serious knee injury which ruled him out of the second half of last season adding a further option in a midfield which also boasts Allan, Stevie Mallan, Daryl Horgan, Newell, Vykintas Slivka and youngster Fraser Murray who is set to begin his first season in the squad.
There does, though, appear to be the need of a defensive midfielder to balance that area given the decision to cut short Australian captain Mark Milligan’s contract shortly after it was revealed fans’ favourite Marvin Bartley was ending his four-year stay at Easter Road by joining Livingston.
The addition of Doidge, scorer of 66 goals in 122 matches for his previous club Forest Green Rovers, will, hopefully, alongside Flo Kamberi and Oli Shaw, help address Heckingbottom’s frustration of watching his side fail to turn possession and chances created into goals while he hopes to add further to his strikeforce by the return of Scotland hitman Marc McNulty.
McNulty has three years of his contract with Reading to run and with the Royals having spent £1 million to buy him from Coventry last summer, it may be closer to the transfer deadline before the 26-year-old’s future is finally decided.
Heckingbottom intends to run with a “tight” squad in his first full season at Easter Road, but with a current squad of only 18, including youngsters Murray, Shaw, Ryan Porteous and Sean Mackie, there is scope for further new faces over the coming weeks.