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Hibernian manager Nick Montgomery revealed he is closing in on a couple of new signings as midfielder James Jeggo returns to Australia.

The Easter Road boss confirmed that the 31-year-old is heading back to his homeland to join Melbourne City a year after arriving in Edinburgh on an 18-month deal.

Montgomery hopes to have a replacement midfielder signed ahead of Saturday’s trip to Kilmarnock, while he is also “close” to securing a new defender.

“The opportunity came for James to go back to his homeland and it was important for him for family reasons as well,” said the Hibs boss. “We had a couple of discussions and agreed it was a good opportunity for him to take at this moment so he goes with our blessing. He’s been a good servant to the club and a good team-mate so he goes with our blessing.

“We’ve been looking constantly to bring reinforcements and there’s a good chance we’ll bring somebody in that I’ve been working on. He would be a replacement for Jimmy.”

With Rocky Bushiri on international duty and Paul Hanlon ill, Will Fish was left as the only fit and available centre-back for Wednesday’s home match against Rangers.

Montgomery had to field left-back Jordan Obita in central defence in the 3-0 defeat by the Ibrox side, but he is hopeful of bolstering that department of his team before the transfer window closes.

“I can report that we are close to bringing in another defender,” he said. “Until we get Rocky back, we are very light in that area. Hopefully Paul Hanlon will return to the squad for Kilmarnock, but the new defender won’t be signed in time.”

Hibs head to Kilmarnock on Saturday having lost four of their last six cinch Premiership matches, albeit three of those were against the current top three at a time when the Edinburgh side have four players away on international duty and another four out injured.

“Criticism is normal,” said the manager. “People have opinions. I’ve been in football for a long time, I know if we don’t get results I’ll be criticised. But internally I know the long-term picture and where I want this club to go.

“I’m proud that we have had five debuts from the academy already this season and I think it’s pretty clear we are light on bodies because we’ve got a lot of players away.

“Once we get through this tough period, I’m really confident we can finish this season where I think we can.”