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Paul Hanlon is confident Hibernian have the required defensive options to deal with the loss of Rocky Bushiri to injury and the sale of Ryan Porteous to Watford.

The pair were key members of the team in the first half of the season but events in recent weeks have left Hanlon as the only established senior centre-back available to manager Lee Johnson.

The long-serving 33-year-old has struck up a partnership with on-loan Manchester United 19-year-old Will Fish in the last two games against Aberdeen and Ross County, while 20-year-old CJ Egan-Riley was recruited on loan from Burnley to provide additional cover earlier this week.

Johnson is still keen to add another centre-back, with former Hamilton and Aberdeen defender Mikey Devlin currently on trial.

Hanlon is optimistic about how Fish – who had a tough debut against Hearts a month ago when fielded at right-back – has handled his first games for the club in his natural position.

“Centre-back is the main area of the park where having a partner is really important but it’s the nature of the game that players leave and players get injured, so it can chop and change,” said Hanlon.

“It’s about being adaptable and getting an understanding as quickly as possible. The last couple of games me and Will have done well together so hopefully we can build on that.

“If we got the decision at Ross County (when County equalised despite Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall appearing to be impeded by an opponent), we could have had two clean sheets.

“Will’s got all the potential in the world. He’s an honest, determined lad who really wants to learn. When you’re talking to him, he’s always listening and adjusting his position and he’s the same when he’s covering me.

“He’s got good pace. Physically for his age he’s brilliant and he can use the ball well. He comes from a good academy and he’s got all the potential to go far.

“It’s early days in the partnership but it’s been good so far. I just wish we had the two clean sheets to show for it.”

Egan-Riley made his debut as a 78th-minute substitute in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at County and Hanlon can see why manager Johnson is so excited about having the former Manchester City youngster on board.

“I’ve not seen so much of CJ but he came on at Ross County and possibly within his first minute on the pitch he got a last-ditch foot on a ball which would have had them through on goal,” he said. “It was a good start for him.

“It was also a tough start because Ross County away is a long trip and we had the wind as well so he had to deal with a lot on his debut and he dealt with it well.

“I’m sure, having been at Man City, when the game’s a bit calmer he will be brilliant in possession. He looks a good signing.”

After a damaging run of 10 defeats in 14 matches, Hanlon feels his team are starting to turn the corner after their 6-0 win over Aberdeen and their draw in Dingwall over the last week.

“I think – deservedly – we’ve taken a bit of a battering sometimes from all angles when we’ve not performed well but I feel like we’re rejuvenated now and we’re all together, working hard,” he said. “Looking at our stats from the last couple of games, the running distances are through the roof.

“We’ve brought in good characters, especially Jimmy Jeggo who has come in and made a big difference. He’s a really positive guy, a good team player. I’m sure we’ll go from strength to strength.”