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By ESPN Staff

Klimarnock in talks with Hassler

Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has confirmed he has held talks with Germany's World Cup-winning midfielder Thomas Hassler over becoming the club's new manager.

But Johnston was reluctant to install the 44-year-old - currently youth team coach at Cologne - as his favourite to succeed Jimmy Calderwood in the Rugby Park hotseat.

Johnston said in the Daily Record: "I still have another couple of candidates to interview next week and it would be wrong of me to say the job was as good as filled before those meetings, but Thomas gave me the impression he liked what he saw of the club."

Calderwood decided to leave Killie because of further cutbacks planned at the debt-laden club, but Johnston insists that has not deterred Hassler, who also won the 1996 European Championships with Germany.

Johnston - who confirmed he had also discussed the vacancy with Alex Rae - said: "Thomas knew the financial landscape at the club and that didn't prevent him from getting on to an aeroplane and coming here, did it?

"He was a gifted player who is now passing on his skills as a coach at a Bundesliga side. That has to be of interest to a club like Kilmarnock. He's been shown everything associated with the club, from the playing surface to the hotel dining room and he'll fly back to Germany after a night's stay to consider his position.

"I've already spoken to Alex Rae, who is a coach with the MK Dons, and others. I said that Steve Kean, from Blackburn Rovers, was my favoured option but we were unable to get him.

"That's why it's now best to maintain a dignified silence until the club is in a position to give a definitive statement."

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