independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Martin O'Neill could be confirmed as new Ireland boss tomorrow

Martin O’Neill is expected to be unveiled as the new Ireland manager at a press conference before the end of the week

Martin O'Neill is having further discussions with the FAI this evening to finalise the small print of the deal which will confirm his appointment as Ireland manager with Roy Keane as his assistant.

With the financial side of the arrangement agreed, all that requires clarification is the specific designation of roles for his backroom team, including Keane.

O’Neill is expected to be confirmed as the new manager in the next 24 hours.

It's understood that contracts are in the process of being drawn up, with lawyers looking over them.

The FAI are keen to announce the capture of the duo before they appear on ITV's coverage of the Champions League meeting between Real Sociedad and Manchester United tomorrow night.

There is no scheduled meeting of the 10-member board of management as they agreed last month to target O'Neill as their number one candidate and are now satisfied he is on board, with only the legalities of his contract and the exact identity of his back-room team to be ironed out. Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter had been tasked with sussing out alternatives in the event that O'Neill said no.

O'Neill (61) will sign a deal which will include a substantial bonus – in the region of €800,000 – if qualification is secured for Euro 2016. It is believed that his basic salary will be greater than the €1.2m that Giovanni Trapattoni earned in his final year in charge, with the package for his entire team coming in at over €2m a year.

EXPERT

In addition to Keane, O'Neill is considering bringing in Steve Walford as a coach and former Irish netminder Seamus McDonagh as goalkeeping coach. Ex-Leicester and Celtic winger Steve Guppy, who is a set-piece expert, is also in the frame to help out.

O'Neill will come back from Spain on Wednesday and a press conference will be pencilled in for the end of the week. A provisional squad for the friendlies with Latvia and Poland, which was drafted by U-21 boss Noel King, will have to be trimmed down at the weekend with the O'Neill-Keane combination set to preside over their first training session next Monday.

Meanwhile, the FAI are set to appoint Mike McGurn as strength and conditioning coach. McGurn, a Fermanagh native, has worked with the Irish rugby team and has helped the Armagh and Louth GAA teams.

By Daniel McDonnell

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