McCarthy and Keane face-off
OLD FOES Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy have emerged as early front runners in the race for the Nottingham Forest manager's job.
The former Ireland team-mates, who infamously fell out ahead of the 2002 World Cup, have been installed among the favourites behind Darren Ferguson after Harry Redknapp ruled himself out of the running to replace the axed Steve Cotterill.
Former Forest midfielder Keane would represent a popular choice at the Championship club, which was this week taken over by the Kuwaiti Al-Hasawi family, who have stated their ambitions to restore the club to its former glory under Brian Clough in the 1970s and '80s.
Keane has been out of work since being sacked by Ipswich Town last year.
The Corkman, like McCarthy a former Ireland captain, struggled to make an impact at Portman Road, but his previous success in getting Sunderland promoted and the huge profile he would bring to the City Ground could attract the new owners as they look to "bring the club back to where it belongs in the top division".
Keane was yesterday described by one local source as "the perfect fit" who "admittedly had a torrid time at Ipswich, but even so remains respected within the game."
Cotterill was brought into a meeting with the new owners on Tuesday and informed he had no future at the club. A club statement read: "The Al-Hasawi family have decided to make a new appointment in a bid to deliver their vision."
Assistant manager Rob Kelly has taken temporary charge, but the club is on the lookout for a bigger name to replace Cotterill.
Peterborough boss Ferguson would need to be bought out of his contract at Forest's promotion rivals, while McCarthy and Keane are both available for free.
Former Forest star John McGovern believes that the Kuwaitis had a replacement lined up before sacking Cotterill.
"The new owners obviously have their own man in mind. As quickly as the decision has come regarding Cotterill they must also have had discussions with someone to take over," he said.