HIBS fans feel the investment in the club’s training centre is finally starting to bear fruit as a raft of homegrown players graduate into the first team.
And an overwhelming number of supporters who took part in the Evening News Hibs fans’ survey said they would like to see this season’s team comprise a mixture of youth and experience.
Since moving from the public parks of Edinburgh to their impressive £5 million training facility at East Mains some five-and-a-half years ago, some fans had become frustrated at the lack of young talent coming through the ranks.
However, last season saw the emergence of a host of a promising youngsters in the shape of Jordon Forster, Ross Caldwell, Alex Harris and Danny Handling, with the likes of Brad Donaldson and Sam Stanton expected to follow them into the first team this term. Of those surveyed, 64 per cent stated that they are “starting to see the first signs” of the training centre paying off, while only 11 per cent felt they had “not seen enough to justify the investment”.
A resounding 88 per cent said that they’d like to see manager Pat Fenlon continue trying to blend youth and experience this season.
The manager received a near-unanimous vote of confidence from the supporters, with most of those surveyed acknowledging that there had been progress in Fenlon’s 19 months in charge. Fifty-six per cent felt there had been “slight progress”, while a further 36 per cent had seen “good progress” under the Irishman.
His summer signings so far, with Owain Tudur Jones and Liam Craig the most notable, have also drawn a nod of approval from the fans, with 65 per cent “quite pleased” with his work in the transfer market this close-season.
Fans’ views on Fenlon will be shaped further by what happens this term. The Hibees are all agreed that the minimum they should be targetting this season is a top-six finish. Of the available options, 47 per cent said “a good cup run and top six” would constitute success for the season, while 42 per cent are expecting “European qualification through their league position”.
Hibs fans were generally unsympathetic to the plight of Rangers and Hearts. A huge 91.5 per cent remained adamant that their club was right to vote newco Rangers out of the SPL last summer, while 64 said they would welcome the absence of Hearts from the top flight.