Nick Montgomery identifies wily Hibs hitman whose return is so timely for top-six push

Hibs boss glad to have Le Fondre fit and firing with Vente and Boyle ruled out for Livingston clash

Nick Montgomery believes the timely return to fitness of wily striker Adam Le Fondre can help Hibs in their quest to secure a place in the top six of the cinch Premiership.

The 37-year-old former Rotherham, Reading, Bolton and Sydney FC forward spent three months on the sidelines with a knee injury sustained against Ross County on the last day of October and returned to contention at the start of February. Le Fondre, who has notched more than 250 career goals, marked his sixth sub outing since his lay-off by scoring an impressive goal in Hibs’ 2-2 draw away to County in midweek. With fellow attackers Dylan Vente and Martin Boyle out with an ankle injury and concussion respectively, Montgomery is delighted to have the veteran nearing full fitness as Hibs battle it out with Dundee for a place in the top six.

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“Adam’s a player I know really well from playing against him many times in England and as well from his time at Sydney FC,” said Montgomery, who previously managed Sydney’s rivals Central Coast Mariners. “It’s been really frustrating for him and for me that he’s been injured for a long period because he’s an out-and-out goal-scorer. He’s diminutive but for his size he is physical and he uses his body well. He never makes it easy for defenders, he can bring others into play, his movement is excellent, he’s got great experience and he’s scored goals in the Premier League.

Hibs train in the wind and rain ahead of facing Livingston on Saturday.Hibs train in the wind and rain ahead of facing Livingston on Saturday.
Hibs train in the wind and rain ahead of facing Livingston on Saturday.

“He’s a good character for us to have around and with Dylan getting injured, he’s come back to fitness at a good time. I thought his performance when he came on in the second half against Ross County was excellent. We’ve been building him up to fitness and he’s probably in the best shape he’s been in since I came into the club. It’s nice to have him back for an important part of the season.”

Hibs appear to be in a two-way battle with Dundee to secure a place in the top six. With four games to play before the split, the Hibees are a point behind the Dark Blues but Montgomery is encouraged by his side’s recent form as they prepare to host bottom-of-the-table Livingston on Saturday.

“We are the only team that’s unbeaten in our last five league games and in the two games we drew, you could say we threw away two points but there were also incidents (contentious decisions that led to equalisers for Hearts and Ross County) that were outwith our control that had a big part to play,” said the Hibs boss. “I’m really proud of the boys’ effort and the run we’ve been on and now we have to carry that momentum into the Livingston game ahead of the international break. There are 12 points to play for before the split and all we can control is each of our performances, we can’t rely on decisions or other teams. We’ve still got every opportunity to finish the season strongly.”