HIBS’ hopes of keeping Leigh Griffiths at Easter Road have been given a boost after new Wolves boss Dean Saunders vowed to cut the size of his squad.
The striker has been a huge hit with Hibs fans after falling out of favour at Molineux and joining the Edinburgh side on loan during last January’s transfer window. However, the Scotland international’s loan deal expires on January 19, and many fans fear Hibs will be unable to keep the forward at the club beyond that date.
While Wolves have struggled in the Championship this season, slipping to 18th in the table, Griffiths has thrived at Easter Road and has scored 14 goals in the SPL so far this season. The Midlands side took action at the weekend after their shock loss in the FA Cup to Luton Town, sacking Norwegian manager Stale Solbakken and replacing him with Saunders 24 hours later.
While Griffiths’ strike rate could prove valuable to the Welsh manager, Saunders has warned his players that he will be looking to cut his current 40-man squad down to 25 and has said that he will need to off-load players in order to bring any more in.
He has vowed to give the players who are already playing their football at Molineux the first chance to impress him this Friday when they play host to Blackburn.
“I’m going to assess the squad. The players picked on Friday get the first bite of the cherry,” said Saunders, who moved to Molineux from Doncaster Rovers.
“They have to show me they want to be here. If I see weaknesses, then we will try to do something about it.
“We need to find players who are determined to fight for the club. That’s the message I’m putting over.”
Meanwhile, Hibs’ young goalkeeper Calum Antell says he is enjoying getting more first-team experience in his loan spell at East Fife.
The 20-year-old Welshman moved north to New Bayview at the start of October and has impressed during his 12-game spell with the Fifers.
He said: “My time with East Fife has gone really well. The reason I went there was to get regular first-team football and now the team is pushing up the table. I’m enjoying it, especially since Billy (Brown, former Hibernian assistant manager) has come in.
“He has been building up my confidence and I think my
performances have improved.”