Sport Soccer

Friday 17 November 2017

Ipswich chief insists Mick McCarthy not interested in return to Ireland post

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy
Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy

Garry Doyle

Ipswich Town's managing director Ian Milne has claimed Mick McCarthy wants to stay at Portman Road.

With McCarthy now nosing in front of Martin O'Neill in the race to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni as Ireland manager, the question remains whether he is definitively interested in returning for a second spell.

According to Milne – one of the club's two MDs – the answer is no. And, he stressed, the FAI have yet to make an official approach for their manager (above).

"Not one that I'm aware of," Milne said. "The last time I spoke to him about this was a couple of weeks ago when it first came up and he said: 'Look, I'm not going anywhere.' And we don't want him to go.

"You don't know what's around the corner, things may change and what have you, but I think he likes the day-to-day running of a team and it's quite a different role doing an international job."

Milne's Ipswich Town boardroom colleague, Jonathan Symonds added: "We're clearly keen to see him stay. We enjoy his style of football and the way the team is performing."

McCarthy has consistently tried to deflect attention away from the issue of whether he would like to return to the Republic of Ireland post by stressing that it is his understanding that the job is Martin O'Neill's to turn down.

Yet, as time passes, and no move is made either by the FAI or O'Neill (above), an opening is gradually developing for McCarthy to go through.

And he has key backers. Both John Delaney, the FAI chief executive, and Ray Houghton, one of the two head-hunters employed by the association, admire his managerial work. Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne have also spoken publicly about his candidacy.

One man who is praying he does not leave Portman Road, however, is Ipswich midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe, who yesterday pleaded with McCarthy to stay in East Anglia.

"We don't really speak about the McCarthy speculation too much in the dressing-room but it's no wonder there is interest in him because he's a great manager.

"It's not for us to discuss, it's his future, but obviously none of us want him to go," he said.

"The main reason for me coming down here was the gaffer. I wanted to work with him because he's a top-class manager."

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