Bristol City close on Lee Johnson as new boss

HITC Sport understands Bristol City are ready to appoint Barnsley boss as their new manager.

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has emerged as the leading contender for the vacant manager's job at Championship strugglers Bristol City, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

Johnson has close connections with Bristol City, having played for the club for five seasons, while his dad Gary was manager at Ashton Gate for five years between 2005-10.

Bristol City have been searching for a new manager since the departure of Steve Cotterill last month and sources have told HITC Sport that Johnson is the clear frontrunner for the role.

Johnson is regarded as one of the best young managers in the country and he became the Football League's youngest manager when he took over at Oldham Athletic in March 2013 aged 31, and guided the Latics to League One safety in his first season.

Barnsley appointed Johnson as their manager last February and he has develop one of the youngest squads in League One.

Johnson endured a sticky patch earlier this season, losing seven games in a row at the back end of October, but he has turned things around with nine wins from their last 11 games to put Barnsley back in contention for the play-offs.

The 34-year-old has also guided Barnsley to the final of the Johnstones Paint Trophy and was rewarded for his side's fine form with the January Manager of the Month award.

John Pemberton has been in caretaker charge at Ashton Gate since the departure of Cotterill and he is set to remain n charge for this weekend's clash with fellow strugglers Charlton Athletic.

Bristol City, who are third from bottom of the table, are keen to make a swift appointment and it appears the club are ready to turn to Johnson to try and guide them to safety in the Championship.

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