BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
PAUL Hanlon is set to pen a new deal within the next 48 hours that will see him stay at Hibernian and become the first signing of Neil Lennon’s reign as manager.
The Easter Road vice-captain is out of contract this summer and was reportedly attracting interest from Aberdeen and from clubs south of the border.
However, the 26-year-old, who made his debut for the Scottish Cup winners back in January 2008, is poised to commit his future to his boyhood heroes on a deal that is likely to keep him a first-team player at the club for more than a decade.
On his arrival at Hibs last week, Lennon identified Hanlon as a player he was keen to retain.
And, despite the new head coach’s absence on media duties in France at Euro 2016, the former Scotland under-21 stalwart is due in at Easter Road this week to put pen to paper on his new contract.
“He’s getting better every year but he’s still relatively young so he’s still got his best years ahead of him.” said Lennon to the Edinburgh Evening News when asked about Hanlon.
“I still think there’s a bit of work in him, as all the players have, but hopefully we can get the best out of him.”
Meanwhile, Hibs are to face English Championship outfit Birmingham City next month in a friendly at Easter Road.
The visit of Gary Rowett’s side on Sunday, July 24, will come three days after the second-leg of Hibs’ Europa League second round qualifier.
Lennon’s team will also face Berwick Rangers, Edinburgh City and Motherwell during their pre-season preparations.