Lee Johnson: Five priorities for new Hibs manager to tackle in bulging inbound tray

A pre-season training camp in Portugal will give him time to impart his ethos to the squad, but there are plenty of conversations to be had before that.

With the arrival of Jamie McAllister as assistant manager, he will need to define David Gray’s role as coach and bring in any other support staff agreed upon during the interview process to shape his team into backstage. But the big decisions, of course, are about the players. Here are five big challenges in Johnson’s entry tray.


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Lee Johnson will be the new Hibs manager

One of the first things Johnson will have to do is approve the arrival of Scottish goalkeeper David Marshall on a two-year deal.

His signing would include a break clause should the new manager have any other ideas on a preferred goalkeeper, but it would come as a major surprise if Johnson did not sanction the arrival of someone as experienced as Marshall.

The 37-year-old fell out of favor under Wayne Rooney at Derby County but became No.1 under Mark Warburton at Queens Park Rangers when he joined in January before injury ended his season in March.

Shaun Maloney would have paved the way for the signing before he was sacked, but Johnson will surely be happy with the arrival of a keeper who hasn’t given up on his Scottish ambitions.

Signing David Marshall to a two-year contract must be approved by Lee Johnson

If Marshall can produce something like the kind of form fellow Scottish veterans Craig Gordon and Allan McGregor have displayed for Hearts and Celtic, Johnson will have a solid base to build on.

Johnson may have to consider whether or not he should keep both Matt Macey and Kevin Dabrowski, both under contract through the summer of 2023. Third pick David Mitchell, who served as coach of the acting caretakers, also a year old.


Money will be available for Johnson to bring in players, but before that he will have to make decisions about the future of many of those already at the club. Defenders mostly.

Ryan Porteous is out of contract next summer

Rocky Bushiri’s loan spell at Norwich City expires this summer but Hibs have the option to make the deal permanent. The young centre-back fell out of favor at the end of the season after being signed by Maloney in January.

Paul McGinn’s contract is up, but he has the option of extending it for another year. The 31-year-old has been in talks with the club over a new contract since Maloney’s departure, but much may hinge on Johnson’s plans.

Darren McGregor is still a year old and the veteran has expressed interest in a coaching role. That’s another conversation Johnson needs to have.

Scott Allan and Drey Wright are expected to be released when their contracts expire.


It goes without saying that recruitment is a priority for the new boss, but this summer transfer window takes on added importance.

Club officials have admitted last summer’s window was a disaster and the consequences were disastrous. This led to the departure of Graeme Mathie and left Jack Ross without adequate cover when injuries started piling up at the start of the season. In the end, Ross paid the price with his work.

Johnson has a much bigger rebuild on his hands this summer, which makes it even more important that he enters the transfer market straight away.

There’s money to be spent thanks to the £2.5m sale of Martin Boyle and the Australian’s area of ​​the pitch must be high on the priority list.

Kevin Nisbet is out until at least November and Christian Doidge has struggled with form and fitness all season.

Sylvester Jasper and James Scott will return to Fulham and Hull City now that their loan deals expire and Chris Mueller has already left.

Johnson cannot expect Elias Melkersen to be his main striker, so signing three or four proven strikers who create chances and score goals is a top priority.

Maloney has failed miserably in that department and Johnson can’t afford to do the same, with an exciting, attacking style of play that is integral to his tenure.


Ryan Porteous is a player who could attract interest over the summer, with his contract due to expire in the summer of 2023.

Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill, for example, was in Easter Road for the St Johnstone game on Sunday.

Despite his flaws, the 23-year-old has been Hibs’ best defender this season and his leadership qualities and connection to the fans make him an ideal pillar for Johnson to build his defence. But if the new manager is here for the long haul, he’ll want to make sure Porteous doesn’t terminate his contract and then leave for free next summer, like John Souttar is doing at Hearts this summer.

It may not be an immediate priority, but Johnson and Hibs will want to protect what is a salable asset by entering contract negotiations with Porteous soon.


Johnson is aware enough to understand that winning over skeptical and disappointed Hibs fans is important and will take time.

If social media is any indication, the vast majority would have picked Jon Dahl Tomasson over him. But the former Malmo coach will soon be forgotten. Fans will quickly move on.

They will, of course, be watching the big decisions Johnson has to make regarding player departures and arrivals in the coming weeks, but the Englishman will not be judged until Hibs return to competition in the Premier Sports Cup at the weekend. -end of July 9. ten.