Hibs manager Pat Fenlon has predicted a bright future for Easter Road teenager Alex Harris, revealing the young midfielder is set to play a big part in his long-term plans.
While Harris had previously only made three brief appearances as a substitute, he caught the eye with an accomplished display on the left flank after coming off the bench once again for the final half-hour of Sunday’s derby draw with Hearts.
Although most of the attention in the build-up to last weekend’s showdown had focused on Kevin Thomson, Fenlon insisted the ex-captain’s return won’t be at the expense of the club’s emerging talent, with the likes of Ross Caldwell, Danny Handling, Dean Horribine, Jordon Forster and Bradley Donaldson all having been involved in his first-team squad this season.
It has been 18-year-old Harris, though, who has been most involved in recent weeks, playing a part in both legs of the SPL and Scottish Cup double-header against Kilmarnock before making his derby debut.
Fenlon said: “I think he has a real, real chance, he has great ability. We are trying to build a squad that is going to be together for a while and I think some of the young players are going to play a big part in that.
“Alex has real potential, it’s a matter of harnessing it in the right manner. He has had a
little taste over the last few weeks of first team football which he has enjoyed.”
Meanwhile, Fenlon has
admitted he can’t put a timescale on a return for central defender Paul Hanlon. The former Scotland Under-21 captain has been forced to sit out Hibs’ last three matches with a hip injury having, up to that point, been the only outfield player to have played in every minute of every game this season.
Fenlon said: “We have taken him out to rest him for a time then we’ll have him reassessed.”