Hibs are set to have their resolve tested over the weekend after Rotherham United last night lodged an official request to speak to Scottish Cup-winning boss Alan Stubbs.
The highly-regarded head coach, who is contracted at Easter Road for another year, is the red-hot 1/4 favourite for the vacancy at the English Championship club, with former Hibs manager Tony Mowbray, currently at Coventry City, one of the others featuring prominently in the frame.
Rotherham have already interviewed four candidates, with former Blackburn Rovers manager Gary Bowyer, ex-Houston Dynamo boss Owen Coyle, former Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray and ex-Newcastle and England boss Steve McClaren all thought to have been sounded out.
However, at least two of those are now out of contention, with McClaren understood to have cooled his interest due to budget restraints.
The Rotherham board are now focusing their attention primarily on speaking to Stubbs and Mowbray. The South Yorkshire club are keen to build on the feelgood factor generated by Neil Warnock, who quit the club after successfully steering them to safety in the Championship.
They hope to make an appointment by Wednesday. Millers chairman Tony Stewart had confirmed his interest in Stubbs yesterday afternoon and vowed to “do things the right way” in erms of gaining permission to speak to his primary targets.
“We’ll make the approaches and see what develops over the weekend,” Stewart said, prior to approaching both Hibs and Coventry. “I think if we get permission to open talks, the rest would be plain sailing. There have been six possible candidates and the shortlist has been narrowed down to four.”
It remains to be seen how Hibs have responded to the approach. The Easter Road club, as is normal in such circumstances, were remaining tight-lipped when contacted by the Evening News.
Stubbs, whose stock is high after becoming the first Hibs manager in 114 years to win the Scottish Cup last weekend, also features on the wanted list of former club Bolton Wanderers and is viewed by bookmakers as a contender for the Blackburn Rovers job.
The 44-year-old intimated on Sunday evening, following the Scottish Cup victory parade, that he had the appetite to stay and lead Hibs in the Championship for a third year and explained that plans were already in place for next term’s promotion bid.
However, with his family having remained in England for the past two years, the prospect of a job in the English Championship is likely to hold appeal.