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Stubbs keen to strike loan deal for Duffy

Alan Stubbs, the new Hibernian manager, is set to make a loan move for Everton's Republic of Ireland international defender Shane Duffy.

Stubbs, who left his post as the Academy manager at Everton to succeed Terry Butcher at Hibs, has confirmed he is plotting a raid on his former club to strengthen the squad he has inherited at Easter Road. He is confident that Everton manager Roberto Martinez will listen favourably to any approaches.

"Roberto knows exactly how I want to play," said former Celtic central defender Stubbs. "He knows the way I've worked with the players and knows that if he allows the player to come here, the development of the player will improve because of what we do and how I want to do it and the standards that I set."

Duffy, 22, spent all of last season on-loan at Yeovil Town and has also had loan spells at Burnley and Scunthorpe. The former Ireland Under-21 international won his first senior cap Costa Rica last month. He has made 10 senior appearances for Everton, the last of which was against Oldham in the FA Cup in February 2013.

Meanwhile, Leeann Dempster, the chief executive, has vowed to maintain season-ticket prices despite poor sales and some demands for refunds following relegation.

Dempster revealed the vast majority of 5400 season tickets were bought before the team were relegated with sales "all but dried up" since and well down on the figure from the same time last year (7600). But she says most fans want the club to use the money to allow Stubbs to build a promotion-challenging squad.

"A small number of supporters - I would say around 5% - have been in touch seeking a refund, with the figure of £50 the most quoted.

"Simple arithmetic shows that if this was to happen and if the majority of supporters decided to take it up, it would equate to having to take about a quarter of a million pounds out of the budget available to the head coach, at a time when we need to be investing to fight our way out of the most competitive Championship ever. We know that our opponents will be seeking to match or out-spend us. "This presents a risk I really don't want to take. To maximise our chances of heading straight back up, I have decided that the best course of action is to leave prices as they are."

The cheapest adult season ticket is £355 but Dempster pointed out that the most expensive seats (£405) cost less than the priciest tickets at Hearts and Rangers.

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