Nick Montgomery willing to wield Hibs transfer axe as boss brutally honest on summer signing spree

Nick Montgomery has been brutally honest about Hibs' summer plans - and revealed he is willing to wield the axe.

The manager knows his squad is too bloated with as many as 18 players out on loan to other clubs. Many will be returning to Easter Road but others will also be allowed to leave the club as Montgomery gets real about what he wants and needs from his playing staff next season.

The Englishman understands things must change from this term's poor campaign and there will be no room for passengers as the incomings must also be measured as much as those he plans on cutting ties with.

“Look, the reality is people put a big expectation and pressure on Hibs," he told the Edinburgh Evening News. "You need players who can cope with that pressure. Ultimately, that does reduce the number of players in your squad, players I feel are capable of playing for the first team and are able to consistently cope with the pressure you get at bigger clubs.

“When you walk in and see that, you hope that some players have been out on loan and have impressed enough that you can help them on their journey into professional football, whether it’s down south or starting in the lower leagues in Scotland. That’s something you can always be proud of, as a club. But it’s a challenge, as well, because the budget is the budget. Within that, reducing and having quality over quantity is something we’ve spoken about as a club. I think everybody now has the same understanding that it’s where the club needs to go.

“That’s nothing against decisions in the past, like having development players. But it doesn’t always work out. The club has an understanding that we need to bring quality in, so we have put out a starting team – plus a bench – all capable of competing week in, week out, and also coping with international windows, tournaments, injuries, the stuff you can’t control.

“There’s a lot of players contracted to the club who we have to find new homes for, which is not always easy. Some players out on loan have played, others have struggled for game time. They were signings made by previous managers for different reasons – some for development, some that haven’t worked out. It’s about looking at that situation and working internally to try and move some players on, and use those funds to bring in a couple of quality signings.

“We’re working really hard to identify possible targets, but every club’s main window is the summer, when you’re recruiting to put together a squad for pre-season. That’s when the season really does start, in pre-season. There are a lot of contracted players at the club, a lot of them out on loan. That forms part of the first team squad and budget. That’s obviously a cycle of the previous two managers – that’s what you inherit when you come into a club in this situation.

“We’ve got areas we need to fill as priorities before we start looking at the bigger squad picture. We need players who can start in games next season.

“We’re not talking a massive number of players. But we have to get it right – and we have to be patient. That’s one thing in the market, you have to be patient. If we make rash decisions now on signings, that comes out of the budget and leaves us short when it comes to bringing in real quality. We’re really conscious of that, because we have such a big squad under contract at the minute.

“There is interest in some of the players who have been out on loan. But some clubs will act quickly, some will be patient, some act straight away. We definitely have to make sure we get the right players.”