Hughes to hammer out players' futures with Hibs chairman

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HIBS boss John Hughes will today sit down with chairman Rod Petrie to begin hammering out the futures of five of his players.

Moroccan striker Abdessalam Benjelloun, goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay, midfielder Patrick Cregg, defender Darren McCormack and youngster Lee Currie will all see their contracts expire shortly.

But, Hughes revealed, decisions on the five – along with on-loan forward Alan Gow – had been put on hold as his entire focus centred on guiding Hibs into Europe, a target which was achieved with a 2-0 win over Dundee United on the final day of the season.

While many took the tears Benji shed as he left the Tannadice pitch as a sign he'd be departing, Hughes insisted no such decision had yet been made but he did admit there will be "comings and goings" before the players report back for pre-season training.

He said: "I'll be sitting down with the chairman today to begin discussing what we'll do. There's been a few bits and pieces discussed but everything has been on hold as we focused on trying to get that European spot.

"Now we've achieved that, we can get down to work.

"There will be comings and goings, it's an on-going process at any club, it's my job and that's why I travel all over the place to look for players to see what I can do to enhance the squad. I've said for some time that we've struggled for some real physical presence and hopefully there will be one or two coming in with that and a bit of experience to help these guys."

Hughes will be hoping, however, that the prospect of Europa League action next season will help entice new signings to Easter Road. And, he insisted, he never doubted the ability of his players to achieve fourth place even during a miserable run which saw hopes of third place vanish almost as quickly as earlier talk of splitting the Old Firm and even a title challenge itself.

He said: "I am honest enough to say Rangers, Celtic and Dundee United are better sides than us but the league table doesn't lie. We've finished where we are on merit.

"We lost our way a bit after going out of the Scottish Cup but even in the last month going into the top six I felt we were playing some good football and I am a great believer that performances get results.

"But it's a bit ironic in that 6-6 draw against Motherwell won us the point that got us there despite the bitter disappointment of losing that lead. We knew we had to get something from that game."

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