No new faces for the Hibees before kick-off

Hibs boss John Hughes today admitted he's unlikely to sign any more new players ahead of Sunday's first SPL clash of the season against Motherwell even although he believes his Easter Road squad needs further strengthening.

Having released five players at the end of last season, Hughes has brought in three, Dutch midfielder Edwin de Graaf, right-back Michael Hart and 18-year-old Welsh defender David Stephens, although Hibs kids Scott Taggart and Scott Smith agreed two-year deals.

In addition, Hughes hopes midfielders Lee Currie and Sean Welsh, promoted from the club's successful Under-19 team last year, will begin to force their way into his plans, the pair having spent parts of last season on the injury list while the latter is, again, recovering from an operation.

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Even so, Hughes has conceded his squad, which contains three goalkeepers in Graham Stack, Graeme Smith and Mark Brown, is lacking in numbers, the situation not helped by the absence of playmaker Merouane Zemmama, the little Moroccan unlikely to feature following the operation to repair his ruptured cruciate ligament until nearer Christmas.

Hughes' resources will be strained a little more at Fir Park with utility man Ian Murray suspended for the opening two games of the season while Stack and striker Colin Nish battle to overcome the calf injuries which prevented them playing in Hibs' final pre-season friendly, the 2-1 win at Blackpool.

But while revealing he feels he needs "one or two" further additions, Hughes insisted that both he and the supporters need to recognise the costly work which has taken place at Easter Road over the summer with the new 6,400 capacity East Stand nearing completion while the pitch has been both relaid and widened and the undersoil heating system extended accordingly.

The Hibs manager said: "I still feel we could do with one or two in to help us along. But there has to be an understanding from myself and the supporters that there's been a lot of work put into Hibs this year and I might need to shuffle the pack a bit.

"But it looks as if we'll be going into the first game with what we have just now."