Hearts expect to get Paulo Sergio replacement by early July
HEARTS have already drawn up a shortlist of candidates to replace Paulo Sergio as their manager, according to director Sergejus Fedotovas. The club have yet to speak to anyone, as they had hoped that Sergio would stay, Fedotovas said, but they would like a new boss in by the end of the month.
“We have a preliminary short list we want to speak to,” Fedotovas told the Hearts website. “We have not spoken to anyone as we had hoped that things could have been sorted positively with Paulo Sergio. Now the process will start in earnest.
“We believe it will not take long before we announce an appointment, but we will not rush into it just for the sake of it. We will take our time, consider the options and appoint someone we feel is the best candidate for Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
“The players will be reporting back for pre-season in early July, so it would be realistic to think we will have a new manager in place by then. It is a very attractive job in Scottish football and with the added incentive of European football again, we are expecting lots of candidates. There has already been reasonable interest from various managers in the job and we have our own plans as well. We are open-minded when it comes to searching for a new manager; we are not bothered about their nationality. It’s about a person that brings true professionalism to the club and someone that can match the ambitions and goals that we’re looking to achieve.”
Sergio, who left after failing to agree a new contract with the club, had been in his post only since last August. The Portuguese was Hearts’ seventh manager in as many years, and some have lasted even less time in the post since Vladimir Romanov took control. But one of Sergio’s predecessors, John Robertson, agreed with Fedotovas that the job was still one of the most attractive in the Scottish game. “I don’t think it’s a poison chalice,” the former Hearts striker said. “We have a very British/Scottish way of looking at things whereas on the continent this is the norm; owners and directors have a huge influence on the team. ”
A number of former Hearts players have already been linked with the vacancy, including Alloa boss Paul Hartley and Cowdenbeath manager Colin Cameron. Another Portuguese manager, Jose Couceiro, has also been mentioned in speculation, largely because he has coached Kaunas and the Lithuanian national team.
Dundee United manager Peter Houston, an assistant manager at Hearts under Craig Levein, is another to have been mentioned, but yesterday Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson said his club were in talks to extend the manager’s contract.
“I don’t want to criticise Hearts, but there is a great deal of uncertainly around Hearts at the moment,” Thompson said. “It’s maybe not the best place for anyone to go.”
Houston had a well-publicised fall-out with Thompson late last year after reports surfaced that the manager was facing the sack following United’s slump to tenth place in the league. However, Thompson insists that they have got over that setback in their relationship. “We are in discussion with his agent about extending his contract at the moment, rather than him leaving,” he said. “He has done a fantastic job since taking over as manager. I know we had a hiccup back in October, but you have to consider the number of players we lost last summer. It took us a while to get going. Then we had a fantastic run. The manager is very happy here and we are in Europe. We are pleased. He knows we would like him to stay.”