Friday 27 April 2018

Hendrick return to boost O'Neill's hand

Former Ireland international Lee Carsley has been installed among the bookmakers’ favourites to succeed Harry Redknapp as Birmingham City manager. Photo: Getty
Former Ireland international Lee Carsley has been installed among the bookmakers’ favourites to succeed Harry Redknapp as Birmingham City manager. Photo: Getty

Jamie Holland

With Ireland's vital World Cup qualifier against Wales less than three weeks away, Martin O'Neill will be keeping his fingers crossed that Jeff Hendrick comes through unscathed when he returns to action for Burnley against Leeds at Turf Moor tonight.

The 25-year-old has been sidelined for a month because of a thigh injury and missed Ireland's matches against Georgia and Serbia.

Meanwhile, former Ireland international Lee Carsley has been installed among the bookmakers' favourites to succeed Harry Redknapp as Birmingham City manager.

However, amid speculation that he could combine that role with his England U-21 duties, the 43-year-old was giving little away.

Speaking to Blues TV, he said: "I got asked late on Saturday evening to just basically take over first-team affairs until a suitable candidate comes in.

"It's never nice when a manager and a staff lose their jobs and obviously, it's not great circumstances when the team has lost five or six games on the bounce, so my thoughts are with Harry and (assistant manager) Kevin (Bond), and picking the lads up and getting them back on track as quickly as I can, along with the rest of the staff."

Carsley has wasted little time in bolstering his coaching staff in the wake of Redknapp's departure.

He took training for the first time yesterday morning after briefly speaking to the players, and was assisted by club captain Paul Robinson and former Coventry and Derby team-mate Paul Williams.

Williams worked alongside Carsley when he took charge of Brentford for 10 games in September 2015.

Birmingham will take on Derby in the Championship on Saturday sitting in 23rd place in the table after a run of five successive league defeats and having won only one of their eight games to date.

Irish Independent

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