A REPRESENTATIVE of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been in touch with Hibernian to express an interest in the managerial vacancy at Easter Road, but reports that the former Leeds and Chelsea striker is already on the short list are wide of the mark, according to a club source.
Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster is not expected to finalise the short list until tomorrow, and has said that it could comprise both applicants and others who have been identified by the club as suitable candidates to succeed Terry Butcher.
Current Dumbarton manager and former Hibs player Ian Murray remains the bookmakers’ favourite to take over from Butcher, whom Dempster sacked last week.
With pre-season training starting on Monday, Hibs are aware that they need to make an appointment swiftly in order to give the new manager time to rebuild the squad. Butcher released 11 players the day after the club was relegated to the Championship, three others returned to their parent clubs after their loan periods ended, and then a fortnight ago striker James Collins became the 15th departure of the close season when he signed for Shrewsbury Town.
Hasselbaink is looking for a job after leaving Belgian club Royal Antwerp, and has also been linked with Bosnian club Sloboda Tuzla. They expect him to turn up in Tuzla next week to sign a contract.
The 42-year-old, whose nephew Nigel Hasselbaink plays for St Johnstone, ideally wants to return to England, where his children are still at school. His insistence that money would not be his prime consideration when deciding on a new job is bound to appeal to Hibs, and he could find it difficult to turn down the post if it were offered to him while he remained unemployed.
As things stand, however, Hibs are aware that the main motive behind the Dutchman’s intimation of interest may be to alert English clubs to his availability. At a time when the Edinburgh club need long-term stability, Hasselbaink’s would be a high-risk, left-field appointment.
Meanwhile, Dempster has explained that she will assess any potential signings before agreeing to a new manager’s request to add him to the payroll, being aware that haphazard recruitment has led to unbalanced squads in recent years at Easter Road.
“I was heavily involved in player recruitment in my previous role [at Motherwell] and I’ll be heavily involved in player recruitment at Hibs,” she said. “That means that when the manager wants to sign players, we look at it in its broadest sense about where they sit, whether it’s a short-term or long-term move and things like that.
“That will mean that we select the right players required to do a job at the football club. It will be a mix of young and experienced players that will sit within a football plan where we agree a common approach.”
Dempster and new head of football operations George Craig also aim to have individual development plans in place for members of the club’s academy squad. “We need to ensure that we have the best coaching syllabus, individual development programmes, diet and fitness advice, to ensure that our most talented young players are given all the help they need to become not only talented footballers but genuine athletes,” she added.