Hibs boss Jack Ross talks about the goalkeeping pecking-order at club as he welcomes Matt Macey
Manager Jack Ross has made it clear that the Israeli keeper remains his first choice, despite the recruitment of the 6’7” 26-year-old. But the arrival of Macey, who has signed up until the end of the season after ending a seven-year association with The Gunners, and the recall of development squad graduate Kevin Dabrowski from his loan spell at Dumbarton, have heightened the competition for that starting position.
The transfer activity cranked up after Marciano’s withdrawal from last Saturday’s matchday squad, following a tightening of his calf muscle in the warm up. That saw Dillon Barnes thrown in as a late replacement, with goalkeeping coach Craig Samson promoted to the bench.
But, even at that stage, Hibs were aware that parent club QPR were poised to end Barnes’ loan spell and the Leithers were already on the hunt for fresh cover.
“That's why we went out and were able to conclude this deal relatively quickly,” said Ross.
“It’s not an easy position to fill in this particular window, especially as we have an established number one in Ofir whose form has been good this season so it wasn't like we were in a crisis in terms of performance levels. We just found ourselves short in terms of numbers in that department.
“We've been working hard on it for the last couple of weeks, to make sure we were able to go into Monday's game in a decent position. Ofir’s injury threw in a spanner in the works a little bit because obviously it was something we hadn't anticipated.”
After going off injured against St Mirren, Marciano sat out games against Rangers and Ross County with a tight hamstring, but had been expected to return to action in the January 2 meeting with Livingston before his late setback
The news that he could be absent for another two or three weeks forced the club to end their loan agreement with Dumbarton and bring Dabrowski back into the fold.
It was not an easy decision, according to Ross, who would have preferred the 22-year-old Pole to get more regular first team action with the League One side but he will now be given the chance to vie with Macey for the starting berth ahead of Maciano’s return to full fitness.
“There is no doubt Kevin has made good progress during his time at Dumbarton and the reason we sent him on loan was to play games,” explained Ross.
“We felt he had been good in pre-season, but the next stage was to play regularly. I didn’t really want to bring him back because I thought it was great for him to play the whole season there and Jim [Duffy, the Sons manager] didn’t want to lose him, but circumstances meant he had to.
“So Kevin has been brought back to compete to play and he deserves that opportunity. We believe that we are in a position where, whoever we played would be good enough to do so and handle the challenge they would face on Monday.”
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