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Lee Johnson emerges as Hibs next manager frontrunner after ex Sunderland boss turns heads at Easter Road

By Graeme Young

Former Sunderland boss Lee Johnson is the frontrunner to become the next manager of Hibs after impressing club hierarchy during a second interview.

Record Sport understands the 40-year-old has made a real impression on Ron Gordon and his board during their search for Shaun Maloney 's successor.

It comes after the candidates were whittled down to a three-man shortlist, which also includes Karl Robinson and Michael Appleton.

Johnson has been out of work since leaving the Stadium of Light in the wake of a 6-0 thumping for Sunderland against Bolton in January

He became Oldham boss aged 31 before a four-year stay at Bristol City – establishing himself as the longest-serving boss in the Championship before departing in 2020.

Johnson's nomadic playing career led to a brief stint with city rivals Hearts and Kilmarnock.

Chairman, Gordon, son Ian and chief executive Ben Kensell launched a detailed search for their next head coach, which included a trip to London to meet a host of candidates in person.

Former PSV boss Philip Cocu and ex-Real Madrid assistant manager Paul Clement were among those who met with Hibs’ top brass during their search.

But a move for Manchester United icon Roy Keane proved to be a non-starter due to a number of factors.

Hibs are acutely aware of the need to get this appointment right with Jack Ross and Maloney both sacked four months apart during a season to forget.

Club icon David Gray has been in temporary charge but it hasn't led to an upturn in results with fans miffed in the wake of Tuesday's 3-1 defeat to bottom side Dundee.

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