Lee Johnson 'keen to keep Mykola Kukharevych at Hibs' as he gives update on striker's injury rehab
Hibs manager Lee Johnson is keen to keep Mykola Kukharevych at Easter Road beyond the end of the season.
The 21-year-old ESTAC Troyes striker is currently working his way back from a medial ligament problem but notched three goals and an assist in ten matches before the break for the 2022 World Cup, and Johnson is keen to have him back available.
“Mykola is good, he is with the City Football Group at the moment, just to break it up,” the Hibs boss explained. “He is over here on his own but he is doing really well. He is due back with us next week then he will start on the grass – that doesn’t necessarily mean with the team, but in three or four weeks we might get 20 minutes off the bench and then we can build it up from there.”
The Ukrainian forward is due to return to his parent club in the summer but Johnson admits he would be keen to explore the possibility of Kukharevych staying in the Capital either on a loan extension or a permanent transfer.
“He is a good footballer and I would love to have him for longer, whether that be on loan or permanent. I don’t know if that’s possible yet, but he is someone I look at, with my history of developing players, who has bags of potential and could be a top player by the time he is 24, 25.”
Meanwhile, Johnson believes Hibs will attempt to convince Kevin Nisbet to extend his stay at Easter Road with his current contract up in the summer of 2024, but understands the lure of playing at a higher level may be too much.
“I think we have to do the right thing. Kevin is a quality player and there will be a lot of interest in him. There’s a balancing act, and we have seen that over a number of contracts we have tried to do but the players want to go down to the Championship or the Premier League because they feel that the Premier League is the best league in the world. The Championship is a filter into the Premier League and I think most players at this level have that dream and if they can realise that dream, then they fancy it.”