Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom believes Jonathan Spector can provide defensive versatility at a time when the club’s backline resources have been stretched almost to breaking point.
Spector, who spent his formative years at Manchester United, yesterday signed a deal until the end of the season, subject to international clearance. The 33-year-old is a US international who can play at centre-back or full-back and will be available to Hibs after the international break.
His cv also includes spells with Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Birmingham City and Orlando City, where he replaced Brazilian superstar Kaka as club captain.
Heckingbottom told the Hibs website: “Jonathan offers experience, quality and versatility in an area where we haven’t had much cover recently. He’s made a great impression on everyone since he arrived and it’s easy to see why he’s had the career he’s had. We look forward to having him as an option when we’re back from the international break.”
Hibs could have done with him today when they host Motherwell without Darren McGregor who is suspended after being sent off in the 1-1 draw with Rangers on Friday, forcing Heckingbottom to get creative as he looks to plug his defence.
“All the time I have been here it’s been something we’ve had to consider because sometimes we’ve not had any centre backs training,” said the coach, who inherited a squad that had just lost Efe Ambrose and is missing the injured Ryan Porteous. “We are aware we’ve only had two fit and available for games, with Darren and Paul [Hanlon], so it’s something we have given a lot of thought to.”
Currently in sixth spot, Hibs are just two points ahead of Motherwell and know if they can win today it will go a long way to safeguarding their place in the top six. “It is a big game,” said Heckingbottom. “Because we started well with the wins and kept the momentum going with a point last Friday, a lot of hard work has been done but we are still not guaranteed that place.”
Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson celebrated two years in the job this week and will hope to mark the anniversary by leapfrogging Hibs.