Lee Johnson denies Hibs' identity is at risk amid troubles at Easter Road
The Easter Road manager is operating under severe pressure after suffering a ninth defeat in 11 outings when doing down 3-0 to local rivals Hearts last Monday.
Johnson has since revealed he has told ten players in his squad they are now surplus to requirements. On-loan forward Momodou Bojang has already returned to parent club Rainbow FC and others will shortly follow him out of the exit door. Defender Ryan Porteous, meanwhile, has been targeted by Serie A side Udinese.
Recruitment is again under scrutiny as Johnson engages with the task of remoulding his squad in what is only his second transfer window.
“We are trying to form the identity, that's the key," he stressed. "Hibs as a club has a historic identity and we are trying to invest in the right areas so we can make better decisions and we are doing that, I promise you. There's loads of work going on behind the scenes to try and improve what we feel we need to and we will do that. I genuinely believe in the people and also in the process we will get to make these decisions that we want to.”Johnson, meanwhile, has reiterated that he does know his best team – if only he can ensure they are all fit. “I know exactly what it would be,” he said. "But for all those contextual reasons it doesn’t mean you can get that out.”
He confirmed that Aiden McGeady, Harry McKirdy, Kevin Nisbet and Kyle Magennis would all feature. All have been absent for long stretches of the season due to injury and, in the case of McKirdy, fitness issues.
“Playing well, full of confidence and fully fit, I think you have got four high quality players there," said Johnson.
“You can never guarantee any player as a starter, I wouldn’t anyway. But certainly horses for courses, looking at the opposition, I would look at those players as four starters.
“Fully fit with a pre-season those players would have 30-odd starts over a season, you might not always start them or sub one off at times. But (they are) key players.”