HIBS boss Mixu Paatelainen today admitted that he couldn't stand in the way of David Grof's ambition – but believes that the young keeper could still have a future at Easter Road.
In a surprise move, the 19-year-old Hungarian has travelled south this week to join former Hibs manager Tony Mowbray on trial at English Premiership side West Bromwich Albion.
Grof, who made his first-team debut for Hibs back in August in the 3-2 CIS Cup defeat at the hands of Morton, trained with the Baggies yesterday and is expected to spend at least the rest of the week at the Hawthorns.
The keeper was signed in 2006 by Mowbray when he was in charge at Easter Road and there were high hopes that he could make an impression on the first team.
However, he has slipped down the pecking order following the arrival of Yves Ma-Kalambay at the start of last season and the more recent signing of Grzegorz Szamotulski, with Andy McNeil third in line for the gloves.
Grof knows that his opportunities in the first-team squad will be limited and Paatelainen conceded that he did not want to put any obstacles in the young player's way of a chance to play in the English Premiership.
Paatelainen said: "David has gone to train with West Brom this week and it is a good opportunity for him.
"We will see how he copes with it, the different surroundings and a different group of players.
"We have got good goalkeepers at the club and I am delighted with the situation that we are in at the moment. I don't think that David is ready for the first team at the moment, but there is no doubt that he is a talented young goalkeeper and a very talented prospect.
"I didn't want to stand in his way because he is an ambitious boy, I don't think there is a young player out there who doesn't have that kind of attitude. He wants to push himself and that is a good thing
"But he is a good keeper, we need competition for places, and if he comes back to the club then he will be welcomed back."
Meanwhile, Paatelainen will give trialists Denes Rosa and Markus Berger a chance to win themselves a move to Easter Road in a closed-doors bounce game on their home pitch today.
However, the Finn is keen not to make any judgment on the duo until he has seen them in action and added: "We have got Denes and Markus in with us this week and hopefully we will get a chance to have a look at them in a match situation today. But there is no point in speculating on what might or might not happen.
"We will watch them today and take it from there."