HibERNIAN are hopeful of completing a loan deal to sign Celtic striker Anthony Stokes within the next 48 hours, writes Moira Gordon.
It is understood that the player met with Hibs representatives yesterday and, having agreed personal terms and passed a medical, looks certain to complete the switch at the start of the week.
Hibs, who are third in the Championship and have the chance to go second today if they defeat Falkirk, have also been casting an eye over former captain Kevin Thomson. The midfielder has parted company with Dundee by mutual consent and is thought to be exploring the option of a return to the Edinburgh club in the role of player/coach. But while he was present while the team trained yesterday, it is believed that negotiations are ongoing regarding the terms of any return.
Dundee manager Paul Hartley said yesterday that the decision to release Dens Park club captain Thomson was a decision made on the insistence of the player, who felt his body was no longer up to the rigours of top flight football. The former Rangers and Scotland midfielder made 38 appearances during his time at Dundee after joining in the summer of 2014. This was despite numerous injury problems.
When fit he was always viewed as an important first-team member and was asked by his manager to reconsider the request.
“It was Kevin’s decision,” said Hartley. “He came to us at the start of the week and asked if he could leave. He felt with the injuries and his body that he couldn’t handle top-flight football.
“He’s not played a lot of games. He’s not trained a lot and I think it was just a frustration with himself. We didn’t want him to go. It was a total shock. We tried to tell him to sleep on it for a night but he’d made his decision and we respected that.”
Dundee had only won once in ten matches without Thomson in the side prior to yesterday’s 4-2 victory over Partick Thistle. However, Hartley believes there is enough quality to cover the absence.
He added: “I think, if you saw the performance from the guys today, we’ve got a strong midfield. If we could bring in one other it would probably be an attacking player.”
It is the imminent return of Stokes which will fire the imagination of the Hibs support, however. Head coach Alan Stubbs had agreed terms with Celtic on Friday, and he was keen to get the paperwork completed in time to include the Irishman against Falkirk this afternoon but it now looks as if he will have to wait until next weekend’s match against St Mirren before making his second Hibs debut.