Hibernian boss Nick Montgomery has backed Jimmy Jeggo to step in and prove an able deputy for the suspended Joe Newell in Saturday’s cinch Premiership trip to St Johnstone.
The 30-year-old English midfielder has captained Hibs in recent matches, but will be banned for the trip to Perth after picking up his sixth league booking in the 2-0 win over Aberdeen earlier this month.
Australian Jeggo had been a regular starter for most of the season until a minor injury kept him out of the Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat by Aberdeen at the start of November, paving the way for Dylan Levitt to claim a starting place.
Jeggo has remained on the bench ever since but Montgomery confirmed he is set to return to the starting line-up in the absence of Newell.
“Joe’s been outstanding, he’s captained the club on numerous occasions but he’s also taken a few big knocks as well,” said Montgomery.
“He was struggling a little bit so the suspension has come at a time when it’s given him a good opportunity to give him a little rest and refresh him because he’s really important to the team.
“On the other side of it, Jimmy Jeggo has been chomping at the bit and really unfortunate not to be in the team. His performances when I first came in were very good until he got a little injury and then Dylan Levitt came in alongside Joe and we had some good results.
“Jimmy’s been really patient, he’s a real team player and every time he’s come on to the pitch he’s made an impact. He’s reliable so it’s a seamless transition really.
“Jimmy will come in and replace Joe and it’s a good opportunity for him and Dylan to form that partnership they’ve worked on a lot in training so I’m looking forward to that.”
Hibs are fourth in the Premiership after winning four of their last five matches.
However, Montgomery is braced for a tough test away to a Saints side who have enjoyed a notable upturn since Craig Levein replaced Steven MacLean last month.
“St Johnstone have been on a decent run of performances since Craig came in so we’re expecting a tough game,” he said.
“It’s the same players they had before but as always a new manager comes in and implements his ideas and I think you can see the players have bought into Craig since he came in.
“The effort’s been there and they’re a physical, well-organised team. We’re expecting a tough battle this weekend.”
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