Friday, 23 December 2011

O'Neill Favourite for Northern Job

Michael O'Neill has emerged as the Irish Football Association's preferred candidate to become the new Northern Ireland manager, BBC Sport understands.

The appointment of O'Neill could be confirmed next week, subject to personal terms and details of his backroom staff being agreed.

The 42-year-old was capped 33 times for his country, scoring seven goals.

O'Neill was one of three candidates interviewed by the IFA, along with Jim Magilton and Iain Dowie.

The former Newcastle United player won back-to-back league titles as manager of Shamrock Rovers and the part-time Dublin outfit also became the first League of Ireland club to qualify for the group stages of a European competition, after a Europa League play-off win over Partizan Belgrade.

He was unable to agree terms to continue as manager and stepped down after last week's defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.

O'Neill has ruled out the possibility of co-managing the national team with Magilton, who was his assistant at the League of Ireland club.

He may, however, consider Magilton for the role of his assistant with the Northern Ireland set-up.

O'Neill also formerly managed Brechin City.

O'Neill started his career with Irish League club Coleraine

The midfielder moved to Newcastle United in 1987 and made 48 appearances for the Magpies

O'Neill played for 13 clubs including Dundee United, Hibs and Portland Timbers

O'Neill was appointed manager of Shamrock Rovers in 2009 after two years as Brechin City boss