Ryan Gauld: Sporting Lisbon midfielder to join Hibernian camp ahead of possible loan

Ryan Gauld in action for Farense
Ryan Gauld has played 12 times for Farense this season, scoring twice

Sporting Lisbon midfielder Ryan Gauld is expected to arrive at Hibernian's Dubai training camp on Tuesday with a view to agreeing a loan deal.

Head coach Neil Lennon hopes to secure the 23-year-old's services until the end of the season.

Gauld has spent the first half of the season on loan to Farense in Portugal's second tier, making 12 appearances.

"I've always liked him and I was a big fan of him under Jackie McNamara at Dundee United," Lennon said.

"He was only a boy then and he's taken a big plunge to go abroad, and I admire that."

Gauld progressed from the Tannadice youth ranks to the Dundee United first team at the age of 16 before a £3m transfer to Sporting Lisbon in 2014.

But he has only made five first-team appearances amid loan spells to Primeira Liga rivals Vitoria Setubal and Desportivo das Aves before joining Farense this season.

"I think he would come back a more rounded player," Lennon told BBC Scotland. "Hopefully the club will suit his style of play."

Lennon has bemoaned the lack of invention in midfield in his current squad and thinks the former Scotland Under-21 international could provide it.

"He's got that little bit of creativity and I think he's clever with really good football intelligence," he said.

"I think he's got a lovely left foot and is well-balanced - he can pick out a pass and I think he's got goals in him as well."

Lennon, who was critical of his strikers last month, said "attacking options and attacking areas" were his priority but dismissed "a rumour" that Jamie Maclaren, currently with Australia's Asian Cup squad, had left Hibs to join Melbourne City.

He also stressed the need to add width to his squad after winger Martin Boyle picked up an injury with Australia that will require surgery.

No plans to replace Ambrose

However, he thought he had sufficient cover in central defence despite losing "fantastic" Efe Ambrose, the 30-year-old former Nigeria defender who triggered a clause in his contract to end his two-and-a-half years with Hibs last week.

"Obviously losing Efe is a huge blow," Lennon said. "We were very lucky to have him for the length of period that we did and it's time he needs to look after his family.

"We made him a strong offer from our point of view, but obviously there will be other offers out there for him I'm sure."

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Tom Glover has joined Hibs' winter break training camp, with Lennon saying he is looking for back-up for "two first-class goalkeepers" - Adam Bogdan and the injured Ofir Marciano.

"Obviously Ofir, although hopefully he will not be too long out, will not be ready for the restart and we're having a good look at Tom at the minute," he said of the possible loan signing.

"He's a good young goalkeeper and had a year there in Melbourne - and he's coming with a very high pedigree and we like what we've see so far."

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