Hibernian: McGivern and Harris Malmo fitness hope

Pat Fenlon is hopeful of being handed a double fitness boost as Hibs seek to produce a famous European comeback against Malmo this week.

The Easter Road men go into Thursday’s second leg of their Europa League second round qualifier up against it after a 2-0 defeat in Sweden. Despite having chances of their own, the capital outfit were fortunate to bring the Allsvenskan league leaders back to Edinburgh having retained some hope of progressing to a glamour clash with Swansea City thanks to a string of 
stunning saves by goalkeeper Ben Williams.

However, Fenlon’s side could be bolstered by the return of both international defender Ryan McGivern and teenage winger Alex Harris. McGivern missed out completely in Malmo because of a knee injury and Harris was restricted to just the last 13 minutes due to a thigh problem.

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Harris, an influential figure after bursting into the team towards the end of last season, caused Malmo problems with his pace and direct running after coming on belatedly in the Swedbank Stadion and could prove to be a key man in the home leg for Hibs.

And, with problems at right-back, where the left-sided Lewis Stevenson filled in on Thursday, Fenlon will welcome being able to call on Northern Ireland 
left-back McGivern.

Fenlon said: “Alex caused them a problem when he came on. He got to the bye-line and pulled some balls back and, hopefully, he should be okay. I don’t think he’s done any more damage to his thigh.

“He should be okay for the second leg, I would think. We don’t have loads of other changes to make. We’ve got one or two that didn’t play that may have a chance of playing. We’ll wait and see how the injuries are. Alex was carrying a knock and Ryan McGivern was out injured as well, but Ryan has a chance for next week.”