Next Hibs manager: Neil Lennon pitches for return but no frontrunner yet as club draw up shortlist
Despite bookies installing Lennon as the favourite to replace Lee Johnson, who was sacked following the weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Livingston, club insiders say that no contact has been made with any possible candidates in connection with the vacant post.
But, speaking on Sky Sports today, the Northern Irishman described the job as “an attractive prospect for a lot of applicants” and said he would “be interested in a conversation, that’s for sure”.
Director of Football Brian McDermott is heading the search, supported by Chief Executive Ben Kensell and Executive Director Ian Gordon, but just days since the club parted ways with Johnson, who has been at the helm since summer 2022, and his assistants Jamie McAllister and Adam Owen, the process remains in its infancy.
Considering all applications, those involved in the hunt are also tapping into contacts to ensure they pull together what they believe is the best possible shortlist. Only then will formal approaches be made and interviews conducted.
It is hoped that once a shortlist has been agreed things will start to move quite quickly with the club, who are sitting bottom of the Premiership table with no points after three games, keen to have a new management team in place when the Premiership action resumes following the upcoming international break.
The Leith side will start back in mid September with a run of games against Kilmarnock, St Johnstone, St Mirren and Dundee, before facing the first capital derby of the season and then taking on Rangers and Celtic before the end of October.
Former captain and first team coach David Gray is currently in interim charge overseeing Thursday night’s Europa Conference League play-off tie against Aston Villa - which they trail 5-0 from the first leg - and he is expected to continue in the temporary role as Hibs head up to Pittodrie on Sunday, before domestic duties give way to those international commitments.
Lennon, who managed Hibs between 2016 and 2019, guiding them back to the top flight and into Europe before an ignominious parting of the ways, and Arnold, who gave Martin Boyle his first Socceroos cap, are just two of several names linked with the Easter Road job and it is not yet known if either will make it through to the formal interview stage.
There are other candidates in the SPFL, many of whom are already contracted elsewhere, including the likes of Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes, St Mirren’s Stephen Robinson and Ross County’s Malky Mackay, as well as possibilities from down south and abroad, with former Sheffield United midfielder and current Central Coast Mariners gaffer Nick Montgomery understood to be a strong contender.
However, as is the case with Lennon and Arnold, there has been no approach yet.
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