Hibs head coach Neil Lennon hopeful of keeping Jason Cummings following ‘positive’ talks

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Hibs head coach Neil Lennon admits he is hoping Jason Cummings remains at Easter Road for at least another season following ‘positive’ talks with the highly-rated striker in France.

Lennon met with the 20-year-old in Paris, where he is working as a pundit for the BBC at Euro 2016, at the weekend after Turkish side Trabzonspor became the latest club to admit their interest in the player.

Cummings, who has a year left on his current deal, is expected to be the subject of offers this summer after netting a total of 46 goals in the last two campaigns.

(Pic: HIbsTV)
(Pic: HIbsTV)

But speaking on the day that Hibs discovered they will face either Icelandic side Valur Reykjavik or Danes Brondby in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, formerCeltic manager Lennon is keeping his fingers crossed that the free-scoring marksman pledges his short-term future to Hibs.

Lennon said: “We are working away in the background trying to bring in players.

“We’re looking at one or two areas of the squad to strengthen and there are players I’d like to keep – Cummings being the main one.

“I had a chat with him over the weekend and that was positive. Now we give the kid some time to go away and think about what he wants to do next.

“He’s only 20 and I think he has a good future. I think he would benefit from another year or two with us.”

Reunion

Lennon, meanwhile, is relishing a potential reunion with former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki, who is now plying his trade with Brondby in Denmark.

Finland internationalist Pukki was bought to Celtic from Schalke by Lennon in summer 2013 but struggled to make an impact in Glasgow.

After scoring only seven league goals, Pukki was loaned to Brondby before joining the club on a permanent deal in July 2015.

Lennon, speaking to the BBC, added: “He’s a quality player, a Finnish international.

“It was difficult for him to settle in Glasgow but he’s a talented boy.”

Brondby finished fourth in last season’s Superliga, while reigning Icelandic champions Valur currently sit eighth in their domestic table, having won three out of their opening eight league matches.

Lennon added: “It’s a tough draw but not insurmountable – historically teams from the likes of Denmark and Iceland are well prepared for the earlier European ties given they’ve often already kicked off their league season.

“We’ll do our homework on both sides and be prepared for whoever wins the first round tie. Obviously Brondby are a well-known name but I’m sure both sides will prove to be difficult.

“We don’t have a preference over who we play so we’ll watch the games with interest and be ready for the next round.

“The players are back for pre-season training later this week and I’m sure everyone will be excited to have this match to look forward to.

“There will be tremendous excitement amongst the fans too, and if we play the home tie first I’m sure we’ll get a great turnout.

“The supporters are massively important for these types of games and it would be a big boost to the players to have Easter Road full.”

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