Neil Lennon believes he can help take Paul Hanlon’s game to a new level if the long-serving defender pledges his future to Hibs.
The new head coach confirmed that the out-of-contract 26-year-old is close to agreeing a new deal with his boyhood club after weighing up his options over the past few weeks.
Hanlon has racked up more than 250 appearances for Hibs since making his debut as a 17-year-old and is now deemed to be among the best centre-backs in Scotland.
Lennon is excited by the prospect of working with the influential former Scotland Under-21 captain and ensuring that he continues his year-on-year improvement.
“We’re pretty confident that Paul is going to re-sign so that would be good news,” the head coach told the Evening News. “He’s experienced now because he’s been here for his whole career and knows the club well. I think it’s important to have those type of players. He’s getting better every year but he’s still relatively young so he’s still got his best years ahead of him.
“I still think there’s a bit of work in him, as all the players have, but hopefully we can get the best out of him.”
Aberdeen have been among the clubs keen on Hanlon. Lennon explained that a big part of his appeal is that he is a left-footed centre-half who is comfortable in possession.
“Paul’s a good player who gives us good balance in the team because he’s a lefty,” he said. “Good left-sided centre-backs are hard to find. He’s mature and he can handle the ball well.”