Hibs Ian Murray set to fill Sol Bamba's shoes in Edinburgh derby

HIBS' derby-day hopes were boosted by the news today that defender Ian Murray will be fit to face Hearts at Easter Road on Sunday.

Murray missed the visit of his old club Rangers after picking up a bug. But the 28-year-old has resumed training and is likely to slot into central defence alongside skipper Chris Hogg to compensate for the loss of Sol Bamba, who has joined up with his Ivory Coast team-mates as they prepare for the African Cup of Nations.

Boss John Hughes said: "Ian came in on Sunday white as a ghost having been up sick all night. We just sent him straight home but he's been back training and will be fine for the derby."

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Hughes will be relieved Murray has shaken off the bug which had struck him down as Bamba, who made a surprise appearance against Rangers having been granted permission to delay his departure for international duty, is likely to be missing for up to a month.

Hogg and Murray teamed up in central defence as Hibs secured a no-scoring draw at Tynecastle earlier in the season and, although Hughes also has 19-year-old Paul Hanlon capable of playing in that area, it would seem more likely he'll go with the more experienced pairing. He said: "We always knew we'd be missing Sol, he'll be a big loss as he's done brilliantly but we wish him all the best as he deserves to go and play for his country on that stage."

Bamba's absence will be countered by the fact Hearts will be without the suspended Jose Goncalves. Hibs winger Danny Galbraith said: "Sol's been one of our best players, very consistent every week so it's a huge blow not to have him. By the same token Goncalves has possibly been Hearts' best player this season. There will be a gap in the centre of both defences to be filled."