Dunfermline boss John Hughes insists Lewis Martin has ‘caught the eye’ as the luckless defender seeks to reignite his career.
Martin has not featured in a senior game for the Pars since a 1-1 draw at Partick Thistle in March 2020, missing the entirety of the 2020/21 campaign due to a persistent calf complaint.
Prior to that, the 25-year-old played just two matches during the 2018/19 season after undergoing groin surgery and suffering subsequent set-backs.
Martin is now out of contract but is injury-free and still training with the Fife club.
He also impressed in a 30-minute cameo in a bounce game against Hibs last Tuesday, in which the Pars ran out 4-1 winners.
“Lewis did really well [against Hibs],” said Hughes. “He got 30 minutes, is injury-free and has been training every day.
“The way he conducts himself certainly catches the eye. He has been here for a number of years, can play in a number of positions and he’s a nice boy.
“Lewis gets his head down and gets on with the work. He is someone I am asking a lot of questions about.
“But he needs to get fit. Not in terms of being injury-free but, but in terms of getting up to speed.”
Mark Connolly move?
Hughes also addressed the future of loan star Mark Connolly, who is due to return to Dundee United on January 16.
The experienced centre-half has been a standout since arriving at East End Park and ‘Yogi’ describes him as ‘a manager’s dream’.
“Mark Connolly is a manager’s dream and we will need to see what Dundee United’s plans are,” continued Hughes. “He is a good professional, gets the boys going and demands from them on the training pitch.
“We need that experience because I still think that we are a bit short of that.
“But Mark is is enjoying his football. Footballers can be so fragile with the wrong word — so let’s allow him enjoy it until the time comes.”
Rhys Breen return
Hughes, meanwhile, confirmed that defender Rhys Breen is set to return to the fold for Saturday’s visit of Queen of the South.
The former Rangers kid has been absent since limping out of the Pars’ 2-1 victory against Inverness last month.
He then suffered a set-back in the bounce match against Hibs, picking up a shoulder knock.
“Big Breeny was taken off against Inverness and was out for 10 days,” added Hughes. “He played against Hibs but got carried off.
“But we have really high hopes for Rhys.
“I’ve been really into him, in terms of telling him that he can be a big player for us and, with a week of training under his belt, he will come into contention for Saturday.”