Hibernian boss Nick Montgomery expects to lose five players for Tuesday’s cinch Premiership clash with Motherwell as a result of international commitments and injury.
Forward Martin Boyle and full-back Lewis Miller will not be available as they fly out to Abu Dhabi in the coming days to join up with the Australia squad ahead of next month’s Asian Cup in Qatar.
Similarly, defender Rocky Bushiri and back-up goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott are set to join up with the DR Congo and Ghana squads respectively to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
In addition, midfielder Josh Campbell is facing around a month on the sidelines after spraining his ankle in Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat by city rivals Hearts, meaning Hibs will be without five players who were in the squad for the derby.
“Unfortunately we’ll lose Lewis and Martin for the Motherwell game as well as Rocky and possibly Jojo Wollacott,” said Montgomery on Friday.
“We’re already pretty thin on the ground and we add Josh Campbell to that who is potentially going to be out for four-plus weeks with a badly sprained ankle.
“It’s not great but it’s one game before the winter break so we have to get on with it.”
With the transfer window due to reopen, Montgomery is unsure if he will be able to get any new faces in before the Motherwell game, but the manager is comfortable with the prospect of relying on some academy graduates.
“We are looking at possibilities but you’ve got to have the budget to bring the right players in,” he said.
“We don’t want to bring players in who are not going to make an immediate impact. We’re always on the lookout for players who can come in and help because right now we are light on bodies.
“But it’s an opportunity for the likes of Rory Whittaker, Rudi Molotnikov and Josh Landers.”
With both AFCON and the Asian Cup running until the second weekend in February, Montgomery knows he could be without some of his internationals for as many as six games after the winter break, in addition to the Motherwell match.
He is hoping the impending returns of Adam Le Fondre, Chris Cadden, Jake Doyle-Hayes and Harry McKirdy following long-term lay-offs can help offset the absence of the internationals.
“We’ve looked at when they go away and the potential of how long they can be away,” he said. “We want the boys to go well but obviously it impacts our squad when we lose players.
“That’s nothing we can control. What we can control is the players we have available, working hard to get some of our injured players back on the training ground, and also hopefully trying to bring a few new faces in if we can find the right ones and if budget will allow.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country