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8 contenders who could take over from Martin O'Neill as Ireland manager

The Derryman is reportedly wanted to replace Nigel Pearson at his old Premier League club Leicester City.
Jul 10th 2015, 5:42 PM 11,008 25

Roy Keane (4/6)

Roy Keane Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THE CURRENT NUMBER two would be favourite to take the reins for the remainder of the current qualifying campaign at least in the event of Martin O’Neill’s departure.

Keane has made no secret of the fact that he intends to return to club management in the future, but, if results went his way as caretaker, there is reason to believe he couldn’t be enticed into taking the Ireland job on a permanent basis.

As arguably the country’s best ever footballer, there is no doubt he commands the respect of the players but it remains to be seen whether he has learned from his mistakes at Sunderland and Ipswich Town.

Mick McCarthy (4/1)

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Ipswich Town v Reading - Portman Road Source: Paul Harding

The last man to lead Ireland to a World Cup finals 13 years ago, Mick McCarthy deserves respect for what he has achieved at club level with Sunderland, Wolves and his current club Ipswich, who narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League after losing their play-off semi-final to Norwich City.

He only signed a three-year contract with the Tractor Boys last summer so it could prove difficult, but the 54-year-old refused to rule out a return to the international set-up when he was linked with the job before O’Neill took over.

Chris Hughton (12/1)

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Brighton and Hove Albion v Norwich City - AMEX Stadium Source: Steve Paston

Another manager currently at a Championship club, former Ireland full-back Chris Hughton is just eight months into his spell at Brighton & Hove Albion. He’s got experience working with the FAI from his time as assistant to Brian Kerr and although he would be an excellent candidate to take the Ireland post one day, this may not be the right time for the ex-Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich gaffer.

Sam Allardyce (10/1)

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United v West Ham United - St James' Park

Out of a job since leaving West Ham at the end of last season, Sam Allardyce has himself been linked with Leicester City among other clubs. The 60-year-old, who had a brief stint in charge of Limerick during the early 90s, has proven he can get the best out of an average group of players on numerous occasions and would be an interesting choice.

Owen Coyle (8/1)

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MLS Dynamo Sounders Soccer Source: Ted S. Warren

Capped once for Ireland at senior level, Owen Coyle’s name was mentioned the last time the position came up in 2013 and while he said it would be an “honour” to manage the Boys in Green, it was his intention to get back into club management.

That desire has taken the former Burnley and Bolton manager to the States, as he was appointed head coach of MLS side Houston Dynamo back in December. He currently sit second from bottom in the Western Conference.

Harry Redknapp (20/1)

Soccer - Premier League Package Source: Chris Ison

‘Arry has been enjoying life outside football since jumping ship at QPR, citing knee surgery at the time, but, at 68, he isn’t completely sold on the idea of retirement and insists he would consider any options on the table.

“I’m not sure really (what I want) – it depends what comes up,” Redknapp said recently. “If anything that was interesting came up then I would be interested.”

Brian Kerr (14/1)

Brian Kerr Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The country’s most successful underage manager didn’t quite cut it when he was handed the chance to manage the senior team between 2003-05 and these days he earns a living working in the media.

Clearly passionate about the game and possessing a wealth of knowledge, many would prefer to see Kerr take up a role within the FAI to improve how we are developing our young players.

Guus Hiddink (25/1)

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group A - Netherlands v Turkey - Amsterdam Arena Source: EMPICS Sport

One of those names who seems to pop up whenever there is a job going, the vastly-experienced Dutchman is also one of the favourites to succeed Nigel Pearson at Leicester. Recently finished up a second spell with the Netherlands, Hiddink also worked his magic with smaller nations like South Korea and Australia but he would most likely cost a pretty penny.

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