PAT FENLON’S RUMOURED appointment as Hibernian manager took a significant step forward this evening after the Edinburgh club were given permission to open contract talks with him.
In a one-line statement, Bohemians confirmed that they will allow Hibs to discuss personal terms with Fenlon, who is still under contract with the Airtricity League side.
Bookmakers rushed to install the Dubliner as 1/6 favourite in the race to succeed Colin Calderwood last week after he emerged as the SPL side’s preferred target.
It is understood that Fenlon, who has been in charge at Dalymount Park since 2008, has since met with the Bohemians board to discuss his future. Under the terms of his current deal, Bohs would not be due any compensation should he choose to leave.
The move to open talks with Fenlon comes as two of Hibs’ other candidates — Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O’Neill and St Mirren boss Danny Lennon — ruled themselves out of the running in the last 24 hours.
These latest developments fuelled speculation that Hibs had finally decided on the man to fill the Easter Road hotseat, but speaking to TheScore.ie this morning, a spokesperson for the Edinburgh oufit denied that an announcement was imminent.
“The club is still meticulously going through the list of candidates,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be in a position to make an announcement soon.”
Asked about O’Neill’s insistence that there was no substance to the speculation linking him with the job, Hibs said that it was their policy “never [to] comment on any individual candidate, particularly one who is still under contract with another club.”
In an exclusive interview with Extratime.ie today, O’Neill moved to reassure Rovers fans that his lengthy contract negotiations did not suggest that he was looking to jump ship.
“I’m under contract with Shamrock Rovers and my focus has never been anywhere else,” O’Neill said.
Hibs have not approached Shamrock Rovers to speak to me which would be the first step in any process.
However, O’Neill conceded that it was a “great honour” to be linked with the vacant Northern Irish job and said that he would have to consider any offer from the Windsor Park chiefs.
Earlier today, St Mirren manager Danny Lennon tied up the loose ends on a two-year contract extension which will see him remain with the Buddies until the end of 2014.