Spanish coach linked with Hearts manager's job as candidate remains in pole position

Hearts have been linked with Spanish coach Martí Cifuentes for the vacant manager’s job.
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The Daily Record are reporting the 40-year-old spoke with Tynecastle chiefs earlier this week about becoming the permanent successor to Robbie Neilson.

The Evening News understands caretaker boss Steven Naismith remains the leading candidate. The former Scottish international took charge for the final seven games of the cinch Premiership season and his candidacy is backed by the majority of the board, though a couple of members want the club to explore other options before a final decision is made.

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Cifuentes has spent the majority of his managerial career thus far in Scandinavia. He is currently the head coach at Hammarby in the Swedish top flight. He finished third in the 2022 campaign, his first in charge, but is struggling midway through his second season with the team sitting in eleventh place.

Tynecastle Park. Picture: SNSTynecastle Park. Picture: SNS
Tynecastle Park. Picture: SNS

From Catalonia, Cifuentes moved into coaching at a young age following an undistinguished playing career in the lower levels of Spanish football. He had experience working with Millwall and Ajax before becoming a manager at Rubi back in his homeland at just 30 years old. Since then he’s managed Sant Andreu, Hospitalet, Norwegian outfit Sandefjord and Danish top-tier side AaB.

He was linked with the vacant managerial job at Aberdeen following the dismissal of Jim Goodwin earlier this year.

Naismith won just two of his seven matches in interim charge, though fans appreciated his style of play and battling performances in the loss to Celtic and draws with Hibs and Rangers, two of which saw Hearts reduced to ten men in the first half.

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