Lee Johnson explains why Hibs 'want to sign more Nohan Kennehs' as he reveals 'illegal' pursuit of Scotland star

Hibs manager Lee Johnson insists the Easter Road club will be looking to sign more players in the mould of Nohan Kenneh as he outlined his recruitment plans for the summer and beyond.

Speaking to fan podcasts Down The Slope, Hibs.net, Longbangers, and Strong Opinion Hibs, the 40-year-old spoke at length about his plans to improve the team after a disappointing 2021/22 campaign.

Johnson said: "There's a big opportunity to improve in the final third, and we can do that by recruiting players and developing players, but also adding what we believe is the right thing to do tactically.

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"Our first competitive game is mid-July and that only really gives us 17, 18 training days so recruitment is key. You've got to have that pitch personality for the forward players and as we saw when we lost Martin Boyle, losing a player with so much pitch personality can have such a detrimental effect.”

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Hibs have already brought in midfielder Nohan Kenneh and goalkeeper David Marshall and Johnson will look to bolster his options in the forward areas of the pitch.

"We need to add quality and numbers higher up the pitch, and I believe we will. I'm looking at the lists that are already here, I'm bringing my own knowledge and contacts down south and across Europe, and we're starting to formulate a good list,” he explained.

"We're speaking to good players across various age ranges. Hibs is a fantastic club and Edinburgh is a beautiful city, so it's not too tough a sell – we've just got to make sure we win when we're competing for these particular players."

Hibs boss Lee Johnson spoke at length about his recruitment plans. Picture: SNS Group

Kenneh’s arrival from Leeds gives Johnson hope that similar players can be convinced to step out of their comfort zone in order to progress.

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"The club has done a great job in securing Nohan. He was on my list but Hibs were in contact anyway, so to get a 19-year-old England international with that experience who has had a lot of games on the bench for Leeds this year and been excellent for their under-23s is a real coup,” he added.

"That's the type of player I'm talking about – one who wants to progress his career and is happy to jump across the border.

"Sometimes in England there's a little bit of a stigma with that. We've got to break that down. I know how tough it is in Scotland and how good it is in terms of the passion of the fans and the level of the football and it's up to me to articulate those things to English players.”

Johnson is also aware that some Easter Road players will attract attention this summer and beyond – and revealed he had personally been keeping tabs on one prior to his appointment.

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"I probably illegally approached Kevin Nisbet four or five times…at his best he is a top player and one I've wanted to get hold of for a number of years.

"I think everyone's had a good look at Josh Doig too; a bright, up-and-coming player who now seems to be really experienced despite only being 20 so a real challenge to keep hold of players like that at a club like this because there is a lot of interest in players like that from big clubs.”