Anthony Stokes goes back to Hibernian in bid to revive his career
Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30
Anthony Stokes has returned to Hibernian in a bid to get his faltering career back on track and will spend the rest of this season focused on gaining promotion from Scotland's second tier.
Stokes joined Celtic from Hibs in 2010 and has now agreed a loan deal back at Easter Road after falling completely out of favour under Ronny Deila. The Edinburgh club sit third in the Scottish Championship, five points behind leaders Rangers.
"Anthony is a fantastic footballer and will really strengthen the squad," says Hibs boss Alan Stubbs. "We have a number of options in attack and real competition for places which is what every manager wants. We are excited about Anthony coming here and I think he will prove to be a real asset."
The drop down a division is unlikely to have a dramatic impact on Stokes' Euro 2016 prospects, other than proving he is fit for selection. Adam Rooney's exploits in the SPL have failed to get him a cap thus far under Martin O'Neill so a prolific run in an inferior grade may struggle to convince management that Stokes is worth a shot. Centre-half Alex Pearce has also gone on loan to Bristol City with a view to staying in the Euros picture. Pearce joined Derby last summer following lengthy service to Reading, and it was believed at that juncture that one of the club's centre-halves would be moving on with Richard Keogh a Premier League target.
He stuck around, however, meaning that Pearce's opportunities have been limited to a pair of cup outings.
Meanwhile, former Ireland and Celtic midfielder Liam Miller will not be staying on for a second season with Cork City. John Caulfield confirmed the news yesterday in a press release which led off with the fact that the highly-rated but injury-prone attacker Danny Morrissey has signed a new deal with the Turner's Cross club.
Miller came back from Australia to line out for City last term and was a regular throughout the campaign without setting the world alight.
The 34-year-old has been coaching with his local club Ballincollig but Caulfield indicated he has a couple of options open to him; it's believed that one of those would involve a move overseas again.
"He isn't part of the squad going forward," said Caulfield, "He was a pleasure to have around the place and I just want to wish him the best of luck wherever he goes. He is a fantastic professional."
Elsewhere, Wexford Youths have confirmed their decision to appoint Shane Keegan as their full-time boss on a two-year deal.
Keegan had spoken at the weekend about the appointment as he had struggled to balance his commitment to the Premier Division newcomers with his day job.
Significantly, Keegan - who has a background in advertising and marketing - will also be involved in running the commercial side of the club as they adapt to new circumstances.