Hibernian midfielder Josh Vela joins Shrewsbury on free transfer

Hibernian have offloaded midfielder Josh Vela to Shrewsbury.

The 26-year-old has left on a free transfer after making 14 appearances for Hibs following a summer move from Bolton.

Vela had not featured since Paul Heckingbottom lost his job as Hibs head coach, although he had been struggling with a thigh injury of late.

His prospects had not been helped by the return of Stephane Omeonga to Easter Road.

The Belgian enjoyed a successful loan spell in Edinburgh after arriving a year ago before going back to his homeland in the summer.

But game time was limited at Cercle Brugge and parent club Genoa cut short the season-long deal and arranged for him to go to Serie B side Cosenza.

However, Hibs heard about his availability and sporting director Graeme Mathie managed to make his interest known just as the 23-year-old landed in Italy.

Omeonga said: “It was a week ago, everything happened so quickly.

“It was a crazy story. I got out of the plane and Graeme texted me: ‘Call me, Call me, call me’. I called him and he told me they wanted me back.

“For a football player that’s the most important thing, to go to a place where you know you are wanted.

“I am hungry, I have a lot of things to prove to the people who worked so hard to get me back. This gives me more energy to do well on the pitch.

“This place just feels like home. I think it’s the trust they put in me. You feel like you have the support of the entire club, the coach, the CEO, everybody.

“It just gives you something more and when you go on the pitch you give everything you have.

“When I signed for Cercle Brugge my biggest regret is that it couldn’t be Hibs. But it didn’t happen, this is football.

“The team I have been playing with are bottom of the league in Belgium, and it’s difficult. The club was not so well managed.”

Omeonga came in after Stevie Mallan was ruled out for two months with a knee injury and head coach Jack Ross admits the rest of his January business could be determined by injuries to Jason Naismith and Ryan Porteous.

The defenders are undergoing scans on the knee problems that forced them off in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Dundee United in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

“We suffered a couple of injuries which have changed probably the priorities for us,” Ross said.

“We have had a busy morning adjusting to what we might have to do. That will be determined properly by the extent of the injuries.

“Certainly they will be unavailable for Wednesday (against Hamilton). But I am concerned it may rule them out for a decent period of time.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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