Hibernian V Falkirk at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview

09 May 2016
Hibernian V Falkirk - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Alan Stubbs ignores Bolton talk to focus on Hibernian's promotion push

Alan Stubbs insists he will not let speculation linking him with a return to Bolton derail Hibernian's promotion bid.

Reports on Sunday suggested the Easter Road boss was being considered for the Trotters vacancy following his impressive two-year stint in Edinburgh.

But the former Celtic defender - who spent six years with Bolton as a player - said he still has work to do with the Leith side.

Hibs host Falkirk on Tuesday night in the first-leg of their play-off semi-final as they seek to reclaim their top-flight place.

Asked about the rumours he was being lined up as Neil Lennon's replacement at the Macron Stadium, Stubbs told Press Association Sport: "It is the same kind of thing that was linking me to jobs earlier on this season. It is what it is - speculation.

"If someone leaves a job, then there is always going to be talk about who is going to fill that job.

"I can assure you, however, that my focus is purely on one thing and that's tomorrow's game - not what is on the back page of a paper.

"It doesn't affect me. There could be speculation linking me with clubs from Monday to Friday and it wouldn't matter one jot. It is not going to take my attention away from what I need to do to get this team through these play-off games.

"If it is in the papers again tomorrow, it honestly doesn't bother me one bit.

"I've got a year left on my contract and until I'm told otherwise, that's the way it is. I'm not thinking next week, never mind next season. I don't want to wish my life away."

Hibs had to battle past Raith Rovers in the quarter-finals but looked leggy in the final stages as they held on for a 2-1 aggregate win at Easter Road on Saturday.

However, Stubbs insists fatigue is not an issue for his team.

"As a player there is nothing better than winning games," he said. "It helps you to recover from match to match very quickly.

"The players know exactly what is at stake in the games to come. They know what is still within their reach this season.

"When you have that in front of you, I can assure you that tiredness is not an issue. If we don't go up there will be other reasons for it but it certainly won't be because of tiredness."

The Easter Road side will be without long-term absentees Danny Carmichael (groin) and Farid El Alagui (hamstring) for their clash with the Bairns but Stubbs expects a difficult encounter regardless of the side he puts out.

Of the teams' four meetings this season, Hibs managed a narrow 1-0 win in October with the three remaining meetings all ending in stalemate.

"It is going to be two tough games for both teams and we both know it," said Stubbs. "We're just hoping we're going to be the side who prevail and come through the tie.

Bairns boss Peter Houston - who will be without Peter Grant (knee) and Connor McGrandles (broken leg) - reckons that nothing will be decided in this first meeting.

He said: "There was nothing between ourselves and Hibs in the league this season and I expect that play-off matches to be very tight as well. We have had a rest whereas Hibs experienced the high of coming back and beating Raith Rovers at the weekend so there is no right or wrong way to prepare.

"We will attack but Sunday's game will be needed to separate us."

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