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Stephen Kenny in search for new assistant manager as John Eustace appointed as Birmingham City boss

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Stephen Kenny. Photo: Stephen McCarthy

Stephen Kenny. Photo: Stephen McCarthy

Stephen Kenny. Photo: Stephen McCarthy

Stephen Kenny is on the look-out for another coach after John Eustace was appointed as the new manager of Birmingham City.

Eustace (42) only joined the Irish set-up in March as replacement for Anthony Barry but after just two international breaks with the group, he has departed the scene.

There was always a danger this scenario would happen given that Eustace had already turned down the chance to take over as manager of Swansea before he came onto the Irish radar.

He was assistant coach at QPR when Barry left and fitted the profile of what Kenny was looking for - especially as his then employer also operated a tactical set-up similar to Ireland's three at the back.

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Ireland assistant manager John Eustace has joined Birmingham City as head coach (Chris Radburn/PA)

Ireland assistant manager John Eustace has joined Birmingham City as head coach (Chris Radburn/PA)

Ireland assistant manager John Eustace has joined Birmingham City as head coach (Chris Radburn/PA)

The well regarded coach was viewed within the English game as a manager in waiting and was in the frame for the Watford job as well as the QPR gig when they let Mark Warburton go.

Neither of those scenarios came to pass and Eustace duly left his post with QPR but his name immediately entered the frame for the Birmingham post when Lee Bowyer exited and he has swiftly arrived on a three-year deal.

In a tweet posted late on Sunday night, Kenny and the FAI wished Eustace well but there’s no doubt his loss presents the manager with another dilemma.

As it happens, Eustace did miss some time in the June camp to get married and chief scout and analyst Stephen Rice took on extra responsibilities to work alongside Kenny and his number two Keith Andrews.

But Kenny will now have to make another full-time appointment and decide whether it's a risk to go for another coach whose star is on the rise.

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While the departure of Damien Duff and Alan Kelly early in his reign was a product of the tension arising from the Videogate controversy, his subsequent losses have been caused by better opportunities coming along.

Barry was headhunted by Belgium, while his initial chief scout Ruaidhri Higgins couldn't turn down the chance to start his managerial career at Derry City. Eustace has now been tempted away by a Championship chance with Birmingham.

Kenny does at least have time on his side this time around as the next gathering is not until the end of September, the away date with Scotland and a home game with Armenia, although it again means that a new face will be dropped straight into a competitive gathering.

The only other Irish commitment this year is a pair of friendlies at the end of November.

"I can't wait to get going, meet the staff and get my ideas across to the players out on the pitches as soon as we can," said Eustace.


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