Garry O'Connor is Hibs gamble - John Hughes

Garry O'Connor (left), Ivan Sproule (centre) and fellow new signing Sean O'Hanlon
O'Connor (left) and Sproule (centre) pose with fellow new signing Sean O'Hanlon

Former manager John Hughes thinks Hibernian are taking a big risk bringing Garry O'Connor and Ivan Sproule back to Easter Road.

"No disrespect, but I wouldn't have signed them," Hughes told BBC Scotland. "They've had their time at the club and you need hungry players.

"They're Hibs legends, great. But you need younger players with better legs to last the whole season.

"Playing in those wide areas and up front, you need to be sharp."

Sproule, 30, returns four years after leaving for Bristol City, while O'Connor, 28, left Hibs in 2006 and the Scotland striker's career has been hampered by a series of injuries.

But the former Lokomotiv Moscow and Birmingham player can't wait to get started in the colours of his first club again, having been released by Barnsley in April.

"I passed a full medical with flying colours, so there are no concerns there," O'Connor said on Friday.

"Fingers crossed, I can go on and have a great season.

"It's great to be back here, where it all started for me.

"The club has come on leaps and bounds since I left and it's a fantastic set-up.

"Hopefully, I can kick-start my career and go on and be a success for Hibs again.

"There is a lot of potential in this team. Hibs have moved on a few players for millions of pounds and I can see that happening again - there are a lot of fantastic young players.

"I'm the experienced player now, having to bring these players on.

"I was at the top of my game when I left and the fans will be expecting me to fit right back into those boots.

"That's why I'm here. I want to do that. The pressure really doesn't get to me any more."

O'Connor is currently the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal over drugs offences and Hughes, who was sacked by Hibs last October, has his doubts over the striker as a role model.

"My advice to him would be to stay away from the bright lights of Edinburgh and just focus on your football," said Hughes.

"We're all hoping that he stays injury-free and scores 20-odd goals and I'll be the first guy to shake his hand if he does.

"It's easy to talk the talk but he needs to go out there and prove it.

"The Hibs fans are desperate for success and when you bring an old favourite back he'll have to do the business."

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