HIBERNIAN face a fight to keep hold of their manager Alan Stubbs after they “reluctantly” gave him permission to talk to Sky Bet Championship Rotherham.

The Edinburgh club initially rejected an approach from the Millers last Friday, but after speaking to Stubbs they have allowed him to discuss terms with the Millers, who need a replacement for Neil Warnock.

The 44-year-old, who led Hibs to their first trophy in 114 years this season, has one year left on his contract at Easter Road, but expressed interest at the chance to manage south of the border.

A club statement read: “Hibernian FC today confirmed that the club has reluctantly given Rotherham United FC permission to speak with head coach Alan Stubbs.

“The club initially refused a request from Rotherham towards the end of last week, but following a subsequent meeting between Alan, chief executive Leeann Dempster and head of football operations George Craig, the club has allowed Rotherham to speak with Alan.”

Dempster, who has just returned from a weekend away, is hopeful that Stubbs will stay at the club. She said: “Throughout, we have made it plain to Alan that we want him to remain as head coach of Hibernian and build on what has been achieved. Despite that, Alan has expressed an interest in hearing what Rotherham have to say.

“I believe that our best chance to keep Alan focused and positive about his job at Hibernian is to allow a brief window within which Alan can speak to Rotherham. Reluctantly therefore, we have agreed to allow that to happen and we will take stock after.

“While we have agreed to the request, we hope that Alan will see a brighter future here at Hibernian with the continued full support of the board.”

Millers chairman Tony Stewart said last week: “I think if we get permission to open talks, the rest would be plain sailing.”