Sunday 19 November 2017

Moneybags Fulham target McCarthy to lead promotion push

Fulham want Mick McCarthy to lead their promotion push next season
Fulham want Mick McCarthy to lead their promotion push next season

John Fallon

Fulham are set to target Mick McCarthy in a bid to mount a promotion push next season.

The former Ireland manager is attracting interest from the Cottagers' hierarchy for keeping Ipswich Town in the Championship play-offs hunt despite operating off a paltry budget.

Struggling Fulham could only watch in admiration as their attempt at achieving a swift return to the Premier League floundered in recent weeks under rookie boss Kit Symons. Instead of pushing for promotion, a string of home defeats has left them battling at the wrong end of the table. McCarthy's record of bringing both Sunderland and Wolves into the top tier has been enhanced by the strides he's made in Suffolk since taking charge at Portman Road two-and-a-half years ago.

The Barnsley man admits he's assembled a squad full of "Bosmans and loans", amongst them Irish international strikers David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy, along with the Hunt brothers, Stephen and Noel.

Currently eighth in the table, 10 points ahead of Nottingham Forest in ninth spot, the Tractor Boys are on track to at least equal their best finish since business tycoon Marcus Evans bought the club in 2007.

Another billionaire, Fulham owner Shahid Khan, has taken note.

Not alone is he prepared to meet Ipswich Town's compensation demands for McCarthy who signed a new three-year contract last summer, they are willing to offer him a four-year deal worth €10m including a promotion bonus.

Fulham's owner also has the financial clout to arm his new manager with a hefty transfer kitty required to accelerate their promotion effort next term.

Of the £62.8m parachute payment spread over four years resulting from their relegation 12 months ago, £19.2m is due next season.

McCarthy's lucrative switch, should he choose to accept, could have implications for his ambitions of taking on the Ireland post for a second stint.

If Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane, as expected, don't have their contracts extended in the case of Ireland failing to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France, McCarthy would be out of the running to take over.

Irish Independent

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