Kilbane urges FAI to move swiftly for McCarthy as O'Neill back in frame
KEVIN KILBANE has urged the FAI to get a move on if they want Mick McCarthy as the next Ireland manager – but it's understood that original favourite Martin O'Neill is still a live candidate for the post.
McCarthy, the Ipswich manager, is in limbo and refused to answer further questions about the Irish job yesterday ahead of his employers' Championship meeting with Bolton tomorrow.
There is a belief in his camp that the FAI might have lined up someone else for the job and O'Neill has re-entered the picture with bookmakers receiving a large volume of bets on the Derry man yesterday from knowledgeable circles.
Last night, he replaced McCarthy at the head of the market with several firms. The 61-year-old has considered his options carefully since departing Sunderland. There was a sense that he favoured a Premier League return over a move into international management, but was willing to speak about the Irish role.
Headhunters Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter are set to finish their round of interviews next week before reporting back to the FAI board.
Kilbane, who is a backer of McCarthy, although he would also welcome Roy Keane, thinks the FAI should go directly for their man instead of a convoluted process – especially when a main candidate is employed.
"For me, if there is a target, you go for your target," he says. "It's a strange one when you go down this interview process. We think it should all be easy, but it can become complicated for various reasons.
"It must be so difficult for Mick. He's in a difficult position – if they want Mick they should go and do it now. We all accept that we want it done right and done thoroughly, but I would have preferred a manager to be in place for the next round of friendlies. Mick's a great guy, a great manager, a great footballing man, a great coach, he's got all the all-round package and he's got experience as well."
Ireland are pencilled in for a November 19 friendly with Poland in Poznan, but a proposed game against Hungary in Dublin on November 15 has been shelved.