The Northern Ireland international won the club’s player of the year award in his debut season with Accies and has followed it up with another impressive campaign as well as helping his country qualify for the European Championship. The 31-year-old revealed this week he was happy to wait until after the finals in France before deciding on his future after his contract expires, with a move to England a possibility.
And Canning has replacements in mind.
“If we are being realistic, the chances are Michael will probably move on so we have been looking and we will continue to look,” Canning said.
“Obviously we would love to keep Michael but his form has been excellent, he is going to the Euros and, if he has a good Euros, he will want to go and test himself at the highest level he can play at.
“He’s been so good for us that, regardless of what happens, everybody will shake his hand and thank him and wish him well because he is such a lovely guy, a really good pro, and guys like Michael deserve to get as much out of their career as they can.
“If that’s at Hamilton Accies, great, and if it’s somewhere else we will thank him for his efforts here.”
Canning’s preparations for next season will be greatly enhanced if his side beat second-bottom Kilmarnock at New Douglas Park on Saturday to secure their Premiership survival.
“When you’re in this position you need to make sure you do your job, which is to stay in the league, and then you can start looking to see what’s happening for next year,” he said.
“Obviously myself and the club start to make plans but you can’t actually formalise anything with certainty until you know what’s happening. So from that purpose, Saturday becomes huge for us.”