Hibs open their Championship campaign this Saturday when they travel west to face a Dumbarton side looking to cause an upset under new boss Stevie Aitken.
Alan Stubbs side won both encounters at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium last season and will be hoping for a repeat on this occasion.
The first encounter at the home of the Sons saw Hibs run out comprehensive 6-3 victors when Dom Malonga netted a hat trick alongside strikes from Scott Allan, Paul Hanlon and Sam Stanton however the second clash in April was a tighter affair with Hanlon netting again in a 2-1 victory with Jason Cummings scoring the second.
Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken: “Hibs are likely to provide as stern a test as we’ll get all season. They are deservedly one of the favourites for promotion.
“They have a settled side, having only just missed out in last season’s playoffs.
“Still, it’s up to us to rise to the challenge. We have had them watched and will be setting out with a game plan to secure the points.”
Dumbarton Team News:
Darren Barr is likely to overcome a knock to retain his place in the Dumbarton line up and the Sons have no other injury concerns.
Player to watch: Mark Brown
The former Hibees ‘keeper will be sure to have a busy afternoon and could prove a pivotal figure in Dumbarton’s bid to beat the drop this campaign.
Never completely won the fans over during his time at Easter Road but a more than worthy standard for the Scottish second tier.
In Depth: Hibs Championship Challengers
Hibernian Team News:
Hibs are likely to introduce Dan Carmichael into the squad for the match with the player being sidelined throughout pre season with a groin strain.
Dom Malonga, who missed last weekend’s victory over Montrose could come back into the fold to partner Jason Cummings up front.
Scott Allan may find himself pitched into the starting line up following two appearances from the bench and with no end in sight to the transfer speculation regarding his football it’s time he got back to pulling the strings on the park.
Long term absentee Danny Handling is definitely ruled out, as is Farid El Alagui and Martin Boyle but James Keatings is approaching full fitness although he may not be risked.
John McGinn is also likely to feature for Hibs having impressed in training and the £100,000 capture from St Miren may replace Sam Stanton in midfield.
Player to watch: Jason Cummings
Two goals in two games show the young striker has hit the ground running thus far in the season as he aims to emulate last season’s final tally of 21.
Never short of confidence, he’ll be hopeful of continuing his good run of form against the part timers.
Match Facts & Stats
Dumbarton’s last victory in this fixture was back in September 1984 when they won 3-2 at Easter Road.
Their last home victory over the Hibees was a 2-0 victory over a side managed by Willie Ormond and contained players such as Jim McArthur, Gordon Rae, Arthur Duncan and Craig Paterson in the visitors line up.
Could be a tough afternoon for Hibs but they should have enough about them to secure a victory.
Dumbarton 0 Hibs 2
Hibs face Morton at Easter Road next Saturday, August 15th. Kick off is 3pm.