Hibs midfielder Stevie Mallan has spoken about how important the upcoming Edinburgh derby is for his side.
Both the Hibees and Hearts come into this fixture on the back of some awful form, especially the Jambos. Fans of the Gorgie club protested after the most recent defeat to Motherwell, demanding Craig Levein’s sacking.
Paul Heckingbottom is under pressure from Hibs fans following a similarly bad run of form. They have won just two of their last 12 league games.
Mallan has stressed how vital this game is for the Leith side.
He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Very rarely you’ll find an Edinburgh derby where both teams are struggling for a win. I’m sure it’ll be hyped up and both teams know they have to win.
“Not much changes in that respect. Whether you need a win or not, going into an Edinburgh derby, it’s do or die. You have to win.”
Mallan hasn’t been helped by Hibs this season
Whilst Mallan himself hasn’t been great this season, his manager Heckingbottom really hasn’t helped him out.
Last term Mallan netted 13 goals and notched 11 assists from a creative midfield role. He has been stifled this season, with the Hibees boss moving him into a box to box role.
It doesn’t work. Mallan is an inconsistent player, which he was able to get away with in creative midfield. His goal contributions made up for that, but he isn’t able to express himself in his new role.
So far he hasn’t scored and has just two assists from nine games. He isn’t a battler, which is detrimental on two fronts for Hibs.
Because he is being played in a defensive role, which he isn’t suited for, there are big gaps opening up in the Leith engine room. Going forward, he can’t add his creative spark.
There’s no denying that Sunday is a big game for Hibs, but whether Mallan is an effective contributor is another question.