Manager on ThursdayThursday, 6th Oct 2022
06/10/22: JM - “They are a good side with a really good manager and Saturday is going to be a tough game like the two here were.”
Manager James McPake is preparing his team to take on Alloa Athletic for the third time in ten fixtures and although, barring cup pairings, the sides won’t meet again until March and May the gaffer accepts that “Scottish football has a habit of doing this.”
Recalling Hibs playing Aberdeen ten times in two seasons (2011-2012 and 2012-2013) when he was at the Easter Road club, James agreed that the repetition was not great in that sense but added:-
“The games against Alloa have been really tough games. They are going really well although they will be disappointed with their last result. Queens were always going to pick up form and they Alloa got a late equaliser. They are a good side with a really good manager and Saturday is going to be a tough game like the two here were.”
Paul Allan and Kevin O’Hara will still be missing but everyone else should be available to start at the Indodrill Stadium:-
“We have had a few knocks but that is normal. Lewis McCann came off with a knock, Chris Mochrie and Rhys Breen took little knocks. Craig Wighton came through last week fine and trained well again this week. It was a good 45 minutes for him and he is stepping up. He was a long time out but he has trained well.”
Striker Kevin O’Hara is out until December and midfielder Paul Allan is recovering from a stress fracture in his foot which his manager reported was coming on fine:-
“Hopefully he will be on the training pitch within the next ten days. I think he gets his last x-ray on Monday which will hopefully come back looking good. He is out of the boot, doing conditioning work in the gym and he is starting to rehab his foot. We don’t want a setback but it is getting to the point now where we can accelerate that and push him.”
James added two players to his squad last week - nineteen year old Robbie Mahon on loan from Motherwell and twenty year old Kane Ritchie-Hosler on loan from Rangers. The manager continued:-
“They are young, that’s a positive. It is a negative at times when you are bringing in people and there are pluses and minuses for it. They are two players that we had identified and we are thankful to Motherwell and Rangers for letting them out on loan.
“It was tough last week because they only had the one day in and then the game, but they have trained really well this week and they are looking good. Like everything else we need to get our ideas across to them because they are coming out of different clubs with different circumstances - either playing reserve football but training with a first team or playing with a B team - into a first team environment. They have handled it well.”
“Robbie is a wide player, he is left footed and he can play on both sides. Technically he is very good as is Kane. They are what you expect when they have come through an academy particularly like Manchester City and Rangers.
“Robbie came from Bohemians and Motherwell identified him so they are players who their parent clubs think a lot of. The two of them are quick, they are very good on the ball and offer width which I think we have needed in the squad.”
Reflecting on the first quarter of season which it is understood still has an away match to Clyde outstanding, the manager’s assessment of the season so far was cautious and realistic:-
“It is going okay. I think the players have taken to the new ideas. There is nothing new in terms of radical or brilliant but what we are asking of them as a staff, trying to get our points across we know it will take time to get where we want to be in squad building and the way we want to play.
“We are through one transfer window which isn’t very long we know. We have had eight league games and we are unbeaten, that is the positive. If you look at it from the other side, we have drawn more games that we would have liked but it is new and we have turned it around from what had been a disappointing end to last season.
“I know the fans will still look on and be gutted by that but it was really important that we got the mindset shifted for the players. I believe that we have done that.”
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