HIBERNIAN yesterday pinned their hopes on two loan signings after Alan Stubbs snapped up Southampton striker Jake Sinclair and Celtic attacker Dylan McGeouch for the rest of the season.
The Easter Road head coach was also last night working hard to add another goal-scorer to his squad after the expected focal point of his team’s attack, Farid El Alagui, sustained a serious Achilles tendon injury at the weekend.
El Alagui himself took to Twitter last night to confirm he has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will now focus on a rehabilitation programme to aid his recovery with the hope he will play again this season.
However, Stubbs, who was reported to have failed in a bid to land a return for fans’ favourite Leigh Griffiths on loan from Celtic, took his signings to eight yesterday afternoon with already-planned deals for Sinclair and McGeouch.
Sinclair, the 19-year-old brother of Manchester City’s Scott Sinclair, has played only a few minutes of first-team football for Southampton but is highly rated at a club that has become famed in recent times for its development of young talent.
He said: “I’m really impressed by everything at the club and it’s great to be here – now I can’t wait to get started.
“My under-21s coach at Southampton (Martin Hunter) told me about the possibility of moving to Hibs on loan on Friday and, as soon as I heard about it, I jumped at the chance.”
McGeouch, meanwhile, has been allowed to leave Celtic for the second successive season following a similar loan spell with Coventry City last term.
The Scotland Under-21 cap made his debut for Celtic nearly three years ago and in his second outing for the Parkhead club scored a stunning solo goal.
However, he has failed to hit the same heights since and failed to convince manager Ronny Deila with a rare 90-minute showing in the much-changed side that fell to a 1-0 defeat to Inverness ten days ago. The 21-year-old, who has managed 27 appearances and two goals for Celtic, commented: “I’m really excited about the loan move. Hibs are a massive club and, as soon as I became aware of the interest, I wanted to move to Easter Road.
“My aim is to play as many first-team games as possible and help to get the club back where it belongs – in the top division.”
With on-loan Hull City keeper Mark Oxley, full-back David Gray, central defender Liam Fontaine, midfielder Scott Allan and on-loan Everton winger Matthew Kennedy, as well as El Alagui, being brought in by Stubbs since his appointment in June, Hibs have so far failed to cope with life in the Championship and fell to their fourth defeat from five competitive outings when they went down 2-1 to part-time Alloa Athletic on Saturday.
Stubbs, whose side have scored just four goals in four league games, will be hoping the club’s latest pair of loan recruits can spark a turnaround in fortunes for the capital club, who are already trailing Hearts and Rangers by nine and six points respectively.
He said: “I’m delighted that we have added both Dylan and Jake to the squad. They will offer us something different and strengthen our attacking options. Dylan comes to us with a high reputation earned at Celtic and we see him playing in a more central role in midfield. His energy and quality will give extra impetus to the team and we’re looking forward to seeing him perform for Hibs.
“Jake will give us a few options in attack; through the middle and out wide. He is a really exciting player with genuine pace, who can hurt the opposition.
“He is an up-and-coming talent, who we’ve been aware of for some time and we’re very happy he has agreed to join us on loan.”