O’Connor missed the weekend defeat by Dundee United with a badly bruised big toe, an injury which had threatened to keep him out of the previous week’s match at Aberdeen.
The Evening News understands O’Connor didn’t train throughout last week in the hope he’d be fit for the trip to Tannadice but, with a hectic schedule of matches over the festive period, it was decided to leave him out.
In his absence, Leigh Griffiths was deployed as Hibs’ sole striker on Tayside and, although the former Dundee hitman opened the scoring for the Edinburgh club, Fenlon’s players capitulated in the second half, a double from United skipper Jon Daly following Johnny Russell’s equaliser.
The defeat, Hibs’ fourth in succession in a run which now amounts to seven SPL games without a win, has left the Capital outfit and Dunfermline isolated at the foot of the table, four points adrift of Caley with only goal difference keeping Fenlon’s players off bottom spot itself.
Fenlon is well aware Hibs can’t afford to lose again on Wednesday and, with a visit to Dunfermline early in the New Year, the Irishman conceded his side have to find the winning habit again – and fast.
He said: “It’s always a worry when you are in the position we are, no matter who is with us. Our only concern is ourselves. The position we are in is not good for the club.
“I said when I came in we need to try to rectify that, so far we haven’t done it. We need to start to pick up points. We have a few games coming up that we have to win, it’s as simple as that.”
Fenlon admitted the return of O’Connor would be a boost for a side which has scored just three goals in the last seven matches, He said: “He’s been struggling for two weeks with a bad toe injury.
“There’s heavy bruising around it but hopefully he will be okay for Wednesday.”