Kenny is first in line to be Dundalk's new king
DUNDALK expect to announce the successor to manager Darius Kierans as early as the end of this week, with Stephen Kenny (pictured right) seen as the leading candidate to take the hot seat in Oriel Park.
Other names being linked with the post include Pete Mahon, John Gill and Roddy Collins, and although Dundalk won't be drawn on who their favoured man is, the club has confirmed that they have had discussions with four potential candidates.
With other clubs already signing players, the need to finalise a new manager quickly isn't lost on the Dundalk board.
'We hope to have the new manager in place by the end of next week or even this week because the sooner we get somebody the better in terms of getting sponsorship in and selling season tickets,' insisted DFC Trust Chairman, Simon Blackmore this week.
'Dundalk is still a big club and there's been a lot of interest from people and a lot of very good candidates have applied.
'We have all these ideas about Dundalk being involved in the community and making the club a cornerstone of the town, but we need to have a new manager in place first.'
Meanwhile, the outcome of Waterford United's protest about the eligibility of Dundalk's Michael Rafter should be known by tomorrow (Wednesday).
The Blues claimed that the striker, a former player at the RSC who scored both goals in the second leg of the recent Promotion/Relegation Play-off, wasn't eligible to play for the Lilywhites, but that has been denied by Dundalk.
Explaining their side of the story in a detailed statement, the club said: 'We would like to reassure all Dundalk supporters that Michael's registration is valid.
'Michael was signed on professional terms on February 19th 2012. The deadline for signing amateur players on professional terms was February 22nd 2012. Waterford United's contention that this deal should have been concluded by January 31st is incorrect. January 31st was the deadline for signing players on amateur terms. 'Waterford United Football Club have based their complaint on Rule 34. This states:
'The two transfer periods for the Amateur game shall be 1st June to 30th September inclusive and the 1st December to the 31st of January inclusive… However, an Amateur Player may be signed on a Professional Contract for the Professional Game during the Professional Registration Periods.'
'As Dundalk Football Club signed Michael Rafter on professional terms during the professional registration period that expired on February 22nd we believe that this objection has no merit.
'Furthermore on February 29th, Dundalk FC received official notification from the FAI that Michael was fully registered with the club from February 21st onwards.'
Waterford are expected to air their protest in front of a three-man panel at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown today (Wednesday), comprising a member of the FAI National Council, a football member and a legal expert.
Should their decision favour Waterford, Dundalk would have the right of appeal to the FAI Appeals Committee, but Community Trust chairman Simon Blackmore said he was confident that Dundalk had no case to answer.
'We have confirmation of when Michael was signed and the FAI rules are there, and the fact this has come up so late suggests it's a dead duck, but it would be nice to get it out of the way.
'I don't see much in it and it might be a mis-reading of the rules by Waterford, and we should get positive news around lunchtime.'
In a short statement, Waterford said: 'It is now in the public domain that Waterford United have made a protest to the FAI regarding an ineligible player.
'Waterford United Football Club have given the matter careful consideration and did not make the decision to protest lightly, but the club stands over its merit.
'The club will not make any further statement until the process is complete.'