Tuesday 20 March 2018

FAI demand answer from O'Neill ahead of board meeting

Martin O'Neill. Picture credit: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Martin O'Neill. Picture credit: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE FAI Board of Management have been summoned to a Monday board meeting to determine the next step on the Ireland manager front, but the intentions of Martin O'Neill will set the agenda.

O'Neill is the preferred candidate to replace Giovanni Trapattoni and knows the FAI want an answer from him by the end of the week so they can press ahead.

But with influential figures favouring a move for the 61-year-old, they may be prepared to give their choice more time if he is leaning towards the Irish post.

As reported in last Saturday's Irish Independent, Crystal Palace are keen on his services and they chatted with him over the weekend, but the Eagles acknowledge that he has reservations about the job.

It's understood that O'Neill considers it a significantly less attractive post than his previous role at Sunderland and would be wary about entering into an inevitable relegation battle with a limited squad. Welsh manager Chris Coleman has emerged as a strong candidate for that vacancy.

The FAI headhunters Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter are set to present their recommendations to the association's hierarchy tomorrow, but it's believed that they haven't been communicating directly with the O'Neill camp.

Their views will be discussed on Monday, with a full meeting of the 10-man board required before the formal appointment of any candidate can be sanctioned.

A planned friendly meeting with Slovenia on Friday, November 15 is off the agenda, although the FAI are still considering alternative options for that date.

As it stands, the only confirmed November fixture is the trip to take on Poland on Tuesday, November 19. Under FIFA regulations, clubs would have to be informed next Tuesday that their players' services are required for that Poznan game.

U-21 boss Noel King is on standby to step in and name a squad should the senior position remain open.

Irish Independent

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