Paul Heckingbottom will take his time in bringing back Ryan Porteous

Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom will not rush Ryan Porteous back into the first team despite a fresh injury in central defence.

Darren McGregor joined Tom James on the sidelines for several weeks after suffering an abdominal injury against Morton last weekend.

Adam Jackson is set to continue deputising after replacing McGregor from the bench with Porteous building himself up following a knee injury.

Heckingbottom, whose side host St Johnstone on Saturday, said: “Call it bad luck or what you want, we seem to have had injuries in similar positions.

“But we have cover there, we’ve got Ryan coming back, Jacko, Paul (Hanlon). Last year at one spell we had two centre-backs, Darren and Paul, and neither of them were training. So we are in a far better position than we were last year.”

Porteous has started for Hibs Under-20s in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup and played other reserve games after recovering from an injury that forced him out in January, and was this week handed a Scotland Under-21 call.

“We will see how he does but he’s progressing week on week, day on day, working hard,” Heckingbottom said.

“He feels better now. It’s not just the fitness. He will not be 100 per cent fit when we put him back in the team, he knows that, we know that.

“It’s just the habits you get, especially when you are a young player and you have been out a long time, you don’t have the experience to fall back on of having a long lay-off before.

“But he is feeling better now, he is making better decisions and he feels like he is moving free, he feels more confident in his defending. So he is getting there.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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