Hibs boss mulls over deal for keeper Sinouh

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HIBS boss Mixu Paatelainen will spend the weekend pondering on whether to offer Moroccan goalkeeper Khalid Sinouh a contract after watching him play in a closed doors match against Livingston.

The 33-year-old has now returned to Holland to consider his own position with Paatelainen likely to reveal on Monday whether or not Sinouh will be joining his Easter Road squad.

Paatelainen has been seeking a new goalkeeper for the past few months, with New Zealander Phil Imray and Lamine Meite from the Ivory Coast just two of many trialists he has looked at without taking matters any further.

Amsterdam-born Sinouh could be signed outwith the transfer window being a free agent after his last club, Turkish outfit Kasimpasa, failed to pay his wages and were forced to release him because of that breach of contract. Sinouh, who trained with Falkirk during their pre-season tour of Holland but could not agree a move, has been with Hibs over the past fortnight to allow Paatelainen and goalkeeping coach Gordon Marshall to conduct a full assessment of his abilities.

The trial period concluded with that closed doors match at Almondvale yesterday, a game which Hibs won 3-1 and now both Paatelainen and Sinouh, who played for Dutch clubs Haarlem, Heerenveen and RKC Waalwijk before joining Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus and then returning to Holland to play for AZ Alkmaar, will consider their positions over the weekend.

Paatelainen said: "Khalid has done okay and played the full 90 minutes against Livingston. He has a bit more experience than the goalkeepers we have but he's now gone back to Holland to see his family as he's been away from them for a fortnight."

While revealing he'd expect the issue to be resolved one way or the other early next week, Paatelainen added: "There's no point in speculating. We have had plenty of trialists most of whom have gone unnoticed.

"This time it's become public and that's why there's been so much interest. We'll let everyone know when the time is right as to what the outcome is to be."

Whether or not Sinouh joins Hibs, Paatelainen has made it clear it wouldn't mean the end for either Yves Ma-Kalambay, who has won back the gloves since returning from Olympic Games action with Belgium, or Andy McNeil, insisting he simply wants further competition for the goalkeeping position.

He said: "I feel we have to strengthen in that area but if we bring in another goalkeeper it doesn't mean he's going to be No.1 straight away, we already have two very good goalkeepers."

Paatelainen fielded a mixed team against the First Division club. He said: "We played some players and told them to put an emphasis on some of the stuff they need to do a bit more of. We had a mix of first-team players and youngsters and some younger players came off the bench. It was a worthwhile exercise."

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