After Hibs were dealt the double blow of serious injuries to both Ryan Porteous and Jason Naismith, an additional centre back could well be on the January wish list.

Jack Ross is well covered at right back, with club captain David Gray the obvious choice to slot in with Naismith likely to miss the rest of the season. A return to parent club Peterborough is also on the cards.

Even if Gray suffers injury, there is still Steven Whittaker and To James in reserve.

But Porteous’ second major injury in the space of a year may require reinforcements in the centre of defence.

Darren McGregor proved a more than able deputy in the recent win at Tynecastle, but at 34 and having missed several months at the start of the season, might not be relied upon every week.

Adam Jackson has come in when required and done a job, and could see this as his chance to establish himself in Ross’ starting XI. Ironically Naismith could have been another option to step in for Porteous.

With nine days left until the January transfer window shuts, what are the potential solutions available to Jack Ross?

Efe Ambrose

The Nigerian remains a popular figure at Easter Road after impressing during a two-year spell at Hibs under Neil Lennon.

The defender is still without a club after being released by Derby County without playing a game.

He has been linked with a return before, and was reportedly close to doing so just weeks after leaving at the start of January last year.

Fresh speculation linked him earlier this season but with Hibs well stocked in the centre of defence at that point, it was a non-starter. St Johnstone and Livingston have also been credited with an interest.

Had Hibs wanted to do a deal, it would have likely been done before now, although the wages Ambrose would be looking for, plus the lack of football he’s played over the last year, may mean Hibs look elsewhere.

Ondrej Mazuc

The Czech international remians a free agent after leaving Hull City last summer. His time on Humberside didn’t go well, but a look at the 30-year-old’s CV reveals an impressive list of clubs.

After starting his career at FC Brno, he moved to Serie A with Fiorentina, who in turn loaned him out to Anderlecht, who eventually signed him on a permanent deal.

After two years in Belgium he made the move to Ukraine with Dnipro in a €3m deal before moving to Sparta Prague on a four-and-a-half-year deal in December 2015.

Similar to Ambrose, a lack of football could count against him but would certainly add experienced back up until the end of the season.

Jimmy Dunne

An ex- Hearts player, but impressed on loan across the city during the first half of last season. Played under Ross at Sunderland before spending the first half of this campaign on loan at Fleetwood Town.

Now back at Burnley but not in the first team picture so a loan move would likely appeal to the Irishman.

Physically commanding and good in the air, Dunne would likely be a strong contender for a starting spot while also being good for a goal or two at the other end of the park.

Had been linked with a loan move to Aberdeen this window. Already knows the league so wouldn’t need much time to adjust, although whether he or Ross felt their time at Sunderland went well enough to warrant working together again is debatable.

Tommy Smith

The 29-year-old spent most of his career with Ipswich, interspersed with loans at Stevenage, Brentford and Colchester United before heading across the pond to join MLS side Colorado Rapids last January.

Spent a year stateside and the New Zealand international played 27 times in 2019 so will still be relatively fit.

Christophe Berra

Let’s acknowledge straight off the bat that this is absolutely not likely. But as the clock ticks down to the transfer deadline and Berra is still languishing at Hearts and Hibs are still searching...if nothing else would spice up the next Edinburgh derby.

Stick with what they’ve got

Jack Ross might just get by with the options he has. Two of Hanlon, Jackson or McGregor will start with another as back up, while Steven Whittaker as filled in at centre back on occasion.

With Oli Shaw reportedly off to Ross County, up front is where Ross may want to use his budget on strengthening at the other end of the pitch and hope Porteous does make it back to the pitch before the end of the campaign.