ST Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley says there has been some discomfort between himself and assistant boss Trevor Croly amid speculation that the Saints No 2 is in the running to take over at Shamrock Rovers.
The issue loomed over yesterday's media event in Inchicore as preparations for Sunday's FAI Ford Cup final step up a gear. Pat's are attempting to bring an end to 51 years of cup misery when they lock horns with Derry City at the Aviva Stadium.
However, with the majority of players out of contract and possible targets for whoever takes the Rovers hot seat, the situation with Croly has complicated matters.
"It would be uncomfortable, for the want of a word, from my end of it for the last few weeks, without getting into any great detail," said Buckley.
"I wouldn't like that to be the focus of this week, bearing in mind there's a cup final. From his angle, I just don't know, we'll see how that pans out.
"He's done a great job with us this year. If he does happen to move on, I'll thank him and we'll move, but at this minute in time, honest to God, I don't know. If you ask him, you might get a clearer picture of where it's at."
The Saints boss hinted at tension arising from Croly's desire to move into management, while stressing that he can understand his ambitions.
"I know by him sitting on the bench, he wants to make decisions and he can't because I'm there. I've no doubt with Michael O'Neill (Croly was assistant to O'Neill at Shamrock Rovers) it was the same and whoever he was with before. It's an issue with assistants or coaches that want to be manager. If that's his call, I'll wish him well."
Croly, who was preparing for the training session that followed the interviews, reacted with surprise when informed of Buckley's comments.
"I don't really know what he's talking about," he said. "He can only speak for himself. I don't know what discomfort he has. It's his discomfort."
He refused to be drawn on where he stood with regard to the Rovers job. It's understood that he is a strong contender on the shortlist that the Hoops have drawn up. Brian Laws, who took the reins from Stephen Kenny for the final months of the season -- although he was titled as director of football -- was named as the new manager of Scunthorpe yesterday. Laws was brought in through a sponsor and it was always expected that he would move on after advising the club on the best way forward.
It is unclear as yet if Croly will be part of that vision. "Is it a possibility? Yeah but there's a possibility for everyone to go everywhere isn't there? Real Madrid as well but Mourinho is probably doing quite well. I don't mean to be funny but anything is a possibility," said the Dubliner.
"We'll all think of the cup this week and then come Monday, the players will be thinking of contracts -- and I'm human, I'll be thinking the same thing.
"We'll deal with it then but it would be silly to look beyond Sunday because it's such a fantastic chance for the group to do something."