Hibs head coach Jack Ross is eyeing a new central defender as he awaits news on an injury to striker Christian Doidge.

Ross was without Paul Hanlon, Doidge and Scott Allan as they were eliminated from the Europa Conference League by Rijeka on Thursday. Centre-back Darren McGregor was sent off in the 4-1 second leg defeat in Croatia, leaving Ryan Porteous as the only senior centre-back Hibs had for a period. Doidge’s fitness is of concern.

Rijeka v Hibernian - UEFA Europa Conference League: Third Qualifying Round Second Leg

Hibs were put to the sword v Rijeka. (Photo by Nel Pavletic/PIXSELL/MB Media/Getty Images)

The Welsh striker may have picked up a ‘serious’ injury in training but Ross is waiting on a further update. Hibs’ head coach says he needs attacking and defensive strengthening: “To be fair I have wanted [an additional centre-half] for a long time now, for this reason.

“With Paul’s injury and Darren’s sending off, the only recognised central defender we had left was young Jack Brydon and I felt it was unfair to throw him into that environment. So, it doesn’t accelerate our search, it just highlights the need for it.

“But it has not changed the thinking I have had for a long time that we need that cover and competition in those areas. That includes the frontline. Just like centre-backs we know the areas we need depth and quality and we are pushing to do that.

“I think this brings to the forefront how quickly we need to do that. If it’s the case with Christian that the injury is serious then it’s a big blow and something we need to evolve the squad to deal with.”

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