Ex-Hearts manager Paulo Sergio faces trip to Old Trafford in new role as Cluj manager

By DARREN JOHNSTONE

PAULO Sergio is set to return to football over five months on from leading Hearts to Scottish Cup glory after agreeing a deal to become the new manager of Romanian Champions League club CFR Cluj.The Portuguese is expected to be unveiled as the successor to the departed Ioan Andone on an initial contract until the end of the season, and can look forward to a December date with Manchester United at Old Trafford in a potentially pivotal Champions League Group H clash.

Sergio, who rejected reduced terms at Hearts in the summer, wrote himself into Tynecastle folklore during his season-long stay in Gorgie after masterminding cup triumph at Hampden in a 5-1 thrashing of city rivals Hibs.

Cluj owner Arpad Paszkany had hoped to entice Sergio’s fellow countryman Sergio Conceicao from Olhanense but the move broke down. Paszkany said: “Paulo Sergio comes to CFR. He’s the best choice for the club, I had many options for the post of head coach but we decided on Paulo. Conceicao was on our list but I signed Paulo Sergio. He won the Scottish Cup with Hearts and has been in charge of Sporting Lisbon and Beira-Mar.

“He has signed up for the season with the possibility of an extension.”

Sergio will take over a team that are sixth in their domestic league, ten points adrift of leaders Steaua Bucharest.

Cluj are second in their Champions League section, however, with four points after beating Braga away and drawing with Galatasaray on their travels.

They recently gave United a fright after taking the lead against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in Romania at the start of this month but the Old Trafford outfit fought back to clinch a 2-1 victory courtesy a Robin Van Persie brace.

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