Paul Heckingbottom has been busy in this year’s transfer window, but what he hasn’t been able to bring in is a replacement for either departed Hibs midfielders Marvin Bartley or Mark Milligan.
The two former Hibs veterans left Easter Road in the summer. Bartley moved to Livingston whilst Milligan made the switch to Southend.
Neither of them were spectacular, but they were unsung heroes in the Hibs midfield. Some may not have appreciated their work, but now that they are gone, people are seeing their true value.
Questions have to be asked as to why they haven’t been replaced.
Bartley and Milligan played vital roles at Hibs
In Heckingbottom’s side, the two defensive midfielders screened the back four. Bartley was more of a squad player, but Milligan especially was a key cog in their system.
The decision to let the two of them go was strange and the inability to bring in a replacement is cause for more shock.
Scott Allan has shown he can be the Hibees’ attacking flair in midfield. That leaves Josh Vela, Stevie Mallan and Vykintas Slivka to fight for a place in the engine room.
None of them have the defensive nous or leadership to deliver regular performances in the CDM role. Perhaps they may be better to watch, but they aren’t as effective as their departed peers.
Bartley and Milligan’s no nonsense approach in the middle was effective. It helped the defence massively as they didn’t have to deal with constant attacks due to their work.
It’s no coincidence that Hibs have struggled at the back recently. They have conceded nine in their past two games, a stat which would look better if Bartley or Milligan had been in front of the Hibs back four.
Heckingbottom has to find a replacement. Nobody at Hibs can do the important job quite like either of the departed duo and it’ll be detrimental to his side if he doesn’t find at least one replacement.
It’s paramount someone steps up and replaces either Bartley or Milligan. As time goes on, the decision to let them go becomes more and more questionable.