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Squad build for 2019/20 ; progress report

Greenmachine

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As we sit here tonight just a couple of days from the start of July..the month of the pre-season friendlies and League Cup ties...it is fair to say that Hibs squad building for next season has gone pretty much to plan so far. Clearly the manager knows what he wants and has had several players targeted from many months ago, and it is to his credit and that of the recruitment team at the club that we have managed to get these players in quite early. I think it is a good time now to look at the current state of the squad and to speculate over where we have strengthened and where we still need to strengthen. The following is my take on things. Would be good to read others opinions.

Goalkeeper; I am pleased that we have heard no more about Rocky moving because he is probably the best goalkeeper in the country and we still have him under contract. Hopefully he now knuckles down and gets on with the job of preparing for the season ahead. With the loss of Bogdan and Laidlaw we do need a number 2 keeper and it looks like we are going to get Chris Maxwell on loan from Preston. As usual the gloom and doomers have homed in on his errors at previous clubs, rather than the fact that Hibs will have been checking his form for many months and studied everything about his game before bringing him to the club. Every goalkeeper makes mistakes..even the top keepers in the world. We have very good people doing the recruitment at the club now and much research is done into every player we bring to Easter Road.

Defence: I have been impressed with Hecky's "build from the back" policy so far. Getting legends McGregor and Gray on long term deals not only gives us two great defenders for however long they are able to carry on playing, but keeping them around the club, preparing them for coaching and being club ambassadors in the future shows how much they are valued. Adam Jackson the manager knows very well, same with Tom James. Both are in due to Gray and McGregor being at the stage of their careers where they are going to get injured more often and take longer to recover. Jackson gives us four central defenders which is what I think we need for the squad. James is going to compete with Sir David for the right-back spot, but thankfully he is also versatile enough to cover elsewhere. Left-back for me is still a concern especially with Lewis Stevenson injured already and going to miss pre-season. Mackie is a great young attacking player, but for me is a not a defender. I'm a bit worried about Porteous as well. Hecky said today he is about a month behind the rest of the squad.

Midfield; The signings of Scott Allan and Joe Newall give us more much needed creativity and in Newall's case a genuine left-sided midfielder. I still think Allan will take a while to get up to speed due to the length of time he has been out so I think we are going to have to be patient with him. Mallan and Horgan are for me two of the best attacking midfield players in the country. I really hope we play Stevie Mallan further forward this season as his shooting power is a massive asset for us. Play him where he can do most damage to the opposition. If Slivka is still at Hibs he will have to produce more this season than he has done up to now. Boyle coming back is a huge bonus for us and we just have to hope he has not lost any of his pace. IMO you cannot get enough players with pace into your squad. We definately need a strong defensive midfielder and probably two. I would love to see Omeonga back as he gave us great drive from midfield in the second half of last season which we had lost when McGinn left. I think Fraser Murray will be our big breakthrough player this season..the laddie has huge potential.

Strikers; With Chris Doidge, we really do have to trust the managers judgement. He has not played at a very high level and that is a concern, but as I have said, I have firm confidence in our recruitment team and hopefully Christian can get us 15 to 20 goals this season because someone is going to have to do that if we want to finish in the top 3. By all accounts he is good in the air which is something we have not had for a long time. Let's just see how it goes with him. I hope we get McNulty back, but it does look like we are struggling to get this one done. This is a shame as he clearly wants to come back to Hibs and Reading want rid of him. Oli Shaw faces a very big season. If he is still at Hibs he really must prove to the manager this season that he is good enough to be a first choice. Flo Kamberi needs to improve big time on last season as well. Hopefully all of our strikers will benefit hugely from the more creative players we have brought in.

Summary; Hecky said today in his press conference we will bring two more in. Hopefully that doesn't include the new goalkeeper. We definately need at least one strong defensive midfielder and another striker. Ideally I would also bring in a fast winger and proper cover for Stevenson but we can't have everything. If we can get a few more bodies in I think we will have squad which (on paper anyway) looks strong for the challenge ahead. The problem is (a) we have no idea how these new (and let's face it unknown) players are going to settle into our team and scottish football, and (b) our main rivals are going to strengthen as well. We just have to put our trust in our new manager and hope for the best.
 
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aggie

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Rocky has to stay.
Defence is fine, and Porteous can take his time given the options.
Midfield ... well, I wait with interest to see how PHB would set us up when all are available. Definitely need some power in there.
Up front, you're right - Doidge could go horribly wrong, or be a revelation. Bit nervous about it, tbh. Shaw is not going to make it. We most DEFINITELY need another in.
 

beefy

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Good assessment, GM

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FTJT

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I'm pretty happy with our options in the final third and I think we've got the players to run quite a few different formations.

We definitely need a first XI holding midfielder. If Tom James can play further up, and if Whittaker is staying, that'll probably do for cover.

If we signed one midfielder, a backup keeper, and kept an eye out for another striker as the window goes on, I'd be happy with that squad.
 

HibeeZab

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Second goalkeeper, a holding midfielder and a striker and we’ll be in a good place.
 

Power

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Paul and Robbie mentioned at Working Together last week they felt our squad was a bit big last season - players on the books that wouldn’t get into the matchday squad. This year they’re keen for compact and two players per position - especially with the crop of youngsters behind that, were there is 3-4 that are knocking on the door and being looked at seriously.

I’ve always been in favour of our youngsters being the back-up but sound rationale was provided by the football department that you want them bled in gradually for their development and not thrown in for long periods that may set them back. I can think of a few over the last two decades that have came in, stayed in and progressed - flipped, I’ve seen some put in and went backwards. Hard balancing act.

2-3 more ideally this window. Paul can’t talk up the recruitment boys any more than he has. He thinks they’re utterly barry.
 

Green Sleeves

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Central midfield we have Mallan, Slivka, Allan & Murray. We'll need 3 players in this area each match. Still a bit lightweight there. FWIW I'd imagine Mallan and Allan will be the first 2 picks +1.

Question is whether 3 of these 4 can run the show against the other top 6 teams. I doubt it. There is still one huge piece of the jigsaw missing which Omeonga could fill. Hibs should pay whatever it takes to get him back. Dont fuck about or penny pinch.

Apart from that its looking decent if the new guys fit in. Another striker will be necessary but given we'll probably start most games with only 1 from either Flo, Doidge or Shaw theres no need to panic.



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joethehibby

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Central midfield we have Mallan, Slivka, Allan & Murray. We'll need 3 players in this area each match. Still a bit lightweight there. FWIW I'd imagine Mallan and Allan will be the first 2 picks +1.

Question is whether 3 of these 4 can run the show against the other top 6 teams. I doubt it. There is still one huge piece of the jigsaw missing which Omeonga could fill. Hibs should pay whatever it takes to get him back. Dont fuck about or penny pinch.

Apart from that its looking decent if the new guys fit in. Another striker will be necessary but given we'll probably start most games with only 1 from either Flo, Doidge or Shaw theres no need to panic.



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Spot on regarding Omeonga IMO
 

HibeeZab

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I liked Omeonga, but I’m not sure I agree that he’s a vital player for us. He brought plenty of energy and grit to the side, but his passing was pretty poor.

A proper holding midfielder needs to be a priority in midfield, then possibly one more.
 

FTJT

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Omeonga would be a huge boost and would start every game when fit, but we need a proper holding player more - even if they didn't start every game, we desperately need someone off the bench because for one thing, there's nobody who could impose themselves in a derby against Haring and whoever plays as clogger #2 right now.

If we signed [someone who sits back] in the next week or two, and managed to resign McNulty and Omeonga near the end of the window as PH has intimated we'd like to, this would be, on paper at least, an absolutely stunning window for Hibs.
 

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