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Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 18:31 UK

Hibs braced for more player bids

Steven Fletcher (left) and Rob Jones
Other clubs were chasing Fletcher (left) and Jones in January

Hibernian boss Mixu Paatelainen insists he does not have to sell to raise funds for his summer signing plans.

However, he does concede that the club's top players will continue to move on if their valuation is met.

"Unfortunately, transfers are part and parcel of football," said the Finn, who has decided to release midfielder Fabian Yantorno and striker Damon Gray.

"Other clubs might come in that offer the club the kind of fees they just can't refuse."

Hibs have lost several of their brightest stars in recent seasons and this summer is sure to see Steven Fletcher and Rob Jones attract offers from elsewhere.

Scotland striker Fletcher was the target of a failed bid from Celtic in January and is reportedly being tracked by a number of top-flight English clubs.

Captain Jones has never hidden his desire to return to England and that has alerted West Brom, Nottingham Forest and Derby, who have been credited with an interest in the towering defender, who was the subject of failed bids from Colchester in January.

Easter Road chairman Rod Petrie has stood firm in the past to get the best possible deal for the club, but Paatelainen acknowledged there will be little they can do if a suitable bid arrives for a player.

"It is a difficult one because I do want to keep my best players and players who have been performing solidly all season," he added.

"There is no question I want to strengthen the team and keep our better players and hopefully add one or two.

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"I don't have to sell players to bring in the players I want.

"Finances are important and it's important to balance the books and make sure there is no deficit.

"I make my recommendations on who I would like to keep in the squad and bring in.

"Then the decision is made around the table and looking at various possibilities."

Despite an obvious reluctance to lose his best performers, Paatelainen is aware players could become disgruntled if offers are rejected and that is something he is keen to avoid.

Fabian Yantorno
Yantorno made just one start during his season with Hibs

"It's very important to have everybody motivated for the cause," he explained.

"I would like to think if certain things don't happen to certain people then they realise it wasn't the time for them to move on.

"I want them to get on with it then. You never know what might happen around the corner. You don't always get what you want."

Yantorno is returning to his native Uruguay after failing to make an impact at Easter Road.

The former Gretna player was offered a way back from a serious knee injury by the Edinburgh club last year.

However, the 26-year-old made just one start for Hibs this season and the option of a further 12 months on his contract will not be exercised.

Gray, 20, was a prolific scorer at Under-19 and reserve level and netted against Aberdeen on his Scottish Premier League debut in April 2007.

He made seven appearances for Hibs before two loan spells with Partick Thistle.



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see also
Hibs boss cool on Jones exit talk
17 May 09 |  Hibernian
Burnley, Lokomotiv track Riordan
15 May 09 |  Hibernian
Hibs' Fletcher seeks England move
12 May 09 |  Hibernian
Accies Yantorno loan bid falters
29 Jan 09 |  Hibernian
Yantorno in as Hibs loan Benji
08 Aug 08 |  Hibernian
Gretna release injured Yantorno
25 Mar 08 |  Gretna


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