Matt Done Hibs deal borne from pre-season clash
HIBERNIAN manager Pat Fenlon has revealed a diverted pre-season clash with Barnsley in 2011 unwittingly aided the club over their signing of Matt Done on a loan arrangement.
Hibs wrapped up a satisfying January transfer window shortly before Thursday’s 11pm deadline by announcing the signing of the winger from the English Championship side on a deal until the end of the season. Done’s arrival replaces the pace on the flank that was offered by the departed Ivan Sproule, with the player eager for games following just six league starts this season for the Tykes.
Fenlon believes Done’s decision to move was helped by the fact the 24-year-old was already well aware of the club’s infrastructure following a fleeting trip to Edinburgh with Barnsley when Colin Calderwood was in the Hibs dugout.
The scheduled July 2011 friendly was switched to Hibs’ East Mains training base after a downpour had rendered the Easter Road pitch unplayable. “How did I persuade him to come up here?” said Fenlon, whose side host Aberdeen in tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round tie. “I said ‘there is only about an hour left of the transfer window so make your mind up’.
“Seriously, probably the fact that there was that friendly against Barnsley helped. It was cancelled here because of rain but they went to the training ground and they played it there.
“That helps because he knows the set-up then. You’re usually trying to convince boys that the set-up is decent and get them up before you sign them to show them, and that helps. In his case, he’d been here so we did not have to get him up the road. He sees it as an opportunity that he can come and play and that’s the pleasing thing.
“Barnsley needed some persuading as well. It’s unusual that you get a player that has been involved as he has in a Championship club. I’m just pleased that he’s here.
“I was aware he was linked with Crystal Palace at the start of the transfer window. We just convinced him to come. He is the type of player we were looking for. It took a little bit of time and it nearly didn’t happen but we’re delighted it did.”
Done’s arrival signalled the end of a month of exhaustive behind the scenes discussions. Fenlon and Hibs tied down Wolves forward Leigh Griffiths – scorer of 15 goals this season – as well as Manchester City left back Ryan McGivern and Motagua midfielder Jorge Claros on new six-month loan deals.
Scotland midfielder Scott Robertson arrived on a two-and-a-half year deal on Monday from a frustrating spell at Blackpool.
Just as importantly for a club currently lying fourth in the Clydesdale Bank SPL, they only bade farewell to players deemed surplus to requirements, Sproule and Danny Galbraith heading out. “I said if we kept the three players on loan and didn’t bring in anybody we would have been happy enough,” added Fenlon, who admitted right-back Tim Clancy is a major doubt for Sunday after hobbling out of Wednesday’s league defeat at Ross County with a hamstring strain. But the fact we’ve brought in the two players in Scott and Matt has been a bonus. They are different to what we have.”
Fenlon, meanwhile, has ruled out a return for former Hibs captain Kevin Thomson after the midfielder was released on transfer deadline day following two-and-a-half injury-ravaged years at Championship outfit Middlesbrough. Thomson departed Hibs in summer 2007 in a £2 million switch to Rangers.
He added: “Every ex-player that seems to come on the market is linked about coming back. Kevin Thomson is going to have plenty of options I would think. Financially, we’re not going to be in a position to do anything else. I’m delighted with what we have. The fact we’ve been able to add to the three loan players is fantastic.
“Unless someone wants to do what David Beckham has done [the former England captain is to donate his PSG wages to a children’s charity] and play for nothing, great. But, in relation to anybody else coming in, free agent or not, it’s not going to happen.”
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