Sport Soccer

Saturday 21 April 2018

King open to return for November friendlies

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE FAI will make a decision in the coming week about their November plans, with the possibility that interim manager Noel King will be required to name a squad for a pair of friendly games – even if he won't be in charge.

Ireland are set to take on Poland in Poznan on Tuesday, November 19, with the head of their FA, ex-Juventus legend Zbigniew Boniek, confirming that a fixture is scheduled for that date. The Poles will have a new face in the dugout after parting company with Waldemar Fornalik following an unsuccessful end to their World Cup campaign.

A Dublin game is on the cards for the previous Friday, with Hungary a possible opponent, but the FAI's enthusiasm for a fixture may depend on whether they will have a new boss in place, a development that would drive ticket sales. On Tuesday night, Robbie Keane encouraged the FAI to move quickly, indicating that, from a player's perspective, friendly matches with an interim boss would not really be of benefit.

King is on standby to monitor players, although he intends to return to a watching brief in England with his U-21 cap on. "I'll be going to England to watch games, and, in theory, that's for the U-21s, for long-term planning. In the short term, if anything changes, I'll be informed."

Due to FIFA regulations, the FAI has to give clubs 14 days notice that they need their players. Therefore, November 1 would be the cut-off point if there's a Dublin date on November 15.

"We'd probably have to make a decision fairly soon," said an FAI spokesman. "Obviously, the squad announcement would happen two weeks beforehand, but there's a lot of speculation over whether these matches will happen or not.

"If there's going to be a decision, then it will be shortly, in the coming days. If there's a decision on the interim manager, everything follows from that."

King gave the impression that he would be happy to take charge for another pair of matches if necessary, but stressed it was out of his hands.

"If there is nobody in, then there is a strong possibility I suppose," he said.

"But I don't know, it's not for me, it's for the FAI.

Irish Independent

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