Keane looks set to make managerial return with Leicester
ROY KEANE has moved into pole position to be named as the new manager of Leicester City after Huddersfield boss Lee Clark confirmed that he is staying put.
The ex-Newcastle midfielder was strong favourite to take over from Sven-Goran Eriksson and had met Leicester bosses to discuss the role. But he has committed his future to his current employers, although there is no suggestion that he was directly offered the post at Leicester.
Instead, Leicester's Asian owners are believed to be tempted by a big-name appointment, and Keane would fit the bill.
Martin O'Neill was the original preference but appeared to have ruled himself out of the running, although he was tight-lipped last night after fresh suggestions he might be prepared to reconsider a return to his former employers.
If he stays out of the race, then Keane is in a strong position.
The Corkman has been out of work since his departure from Ipswich in January and he would have funds available to strengthen a team that is still expected to make a strong push for promotion from the Championship.
The Foxes are just two points off the play-off places in ninth position, but are 11 points behind pace-setters Southampton.
Meanwhile, Giovanni Trapattoni has bitten the bullet and called Leon Best into the Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 play-off with Estonia after another negative prognosis from West Brom on the fitness of Shane Long.
The in-form Newcastle striker had voiced his frustration at his initial exclusion from the squad, but now gets the opportunity to figure in the crucial matches.
Long has returned to jogging with West Brom this week, but his manager Roy Hodgson has said there is no chance of the Tipperary native making a recovery.
Robbie Keane has admitted that Ireland will carry the favourites' tag into the clash with the unseeded Estonians, and stressed his determination to lift the mood of the nation.
"On paper, we are favourites and we don't want to disappoint people," said the LA Galaxy striker.