Pat Fenlon irked by criticism of using loans last season

HIBS manager Pat Fenlon today hit back at the people who criticised him for bringing so many players to Easter Road on loan last season.

The Irishman was only in the job for a short period of time before the January transfer window and was forced to strengthen his squad with temporary signings.

He brought in eight altogether and the financial crisis which has hit Scottish football means that he may have to go down that road again this season, albeit on a smaller scale.

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Fenlon was upset last season by comments from some former professionals and commentators as he dealt with serious financial and time constraints while trying to build his team.

He said: “As a manager, you would like to have everyone signed for the first day of pre-season, but football doesn’t work that way.

“There has been so much going on, particularly in Scottish football and I think that everybody is in the same boat.

“People accused us of having too many loan players last season. I have asked a question and, as yet, no-one has been able to give me an answer: ‘where else do I get players if I don’t get them on loan?’.

“It’s alright sitting on TV saying that I have signed too many players on loan but if these people could show me where there are eight players who I can get for nothing, then I will go and get them. Or if they give me £20million I will go and buy them.

“I’m disappointed with people in the game making cheap comments like that about us but we are going to do our work properly and that is where we are at right now.”

Fenlon revealed that he is still hoping to add a few more faces to his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.

The Irishman has already signed James McPake, Tim Clancy, Ben Williams and Paul Cairney on permanent contracts, while Leigh Griffiths has rejoined the Easter Road side on another six-month loan deal.

He admitted, however, that big-money offers elsewhere are making his job even more difficult. He continued: “We have spoken to three or four real quality players but they have gone elsewhere because they have got more money.

“I do expect to bring in more players. I have said before that we have released a lot of players and we need to strengthen the squad, there is no doubt about it.

“I think we have lost 16 players since the end of last season so I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to work out that we are a little bit short in certain areas. We know what we have got to do. We are fairly close on one and we have others that we are looking into. There is a lot going on.

“I know that the supporters are disappointed that there haven’t been a lot of signings so far.

“But I think that where we were at the end of last season to where we are now, is

completely different.

“We have had to re-jig and we have got a good group of players, but I think that we need to give them a bit more help in certain areas, for experience more than anything else.”