FAI: 'Ireland manager chase to be completed soon'

FAI: 'Ireland manager chase to be completed soon'

FAI director of football, Marc Canham, has claimed that the long-standing chase for a new Ireland boss will come to an end very soon, but he failed to confirm if Stephen Kenny's replacement would be in place for Ireland's two friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland next month.

Since former manager Stephen Kenny left his role in November, the hunt for his replacement has dominated the Irish airwaves and Irish gossip columns every week.

Names like Roy Keane, Lee Carsley, Steve Bruce, Chris Coleman, and others have all been linked, but none have been confirmed as of yet.

This week, former Wales manager Coleman was a heavy favourite to land the role. However, hours later, it was confirmed that he wouldn't be in the running. This same speculation occurred with a former Ireland player, Carsley, a number of weeks ago.

Because of the dragged-out process, a lot of fans of the Irish national team and members of the media have become frustrated. According to Canham, one of the FAI's key staff members, claims the process is getting closer to a definitive outcome.

"The process is ongoing. We hope to complete that process as soon as possible. We're getting closer; that's all I would say on that," said Canham at the unveiling of his comprehensive Football Pathways Plan this week

"It's similar to what we did with the women's head coach. We are following a very similar process with a similar timeline. I'm not going to comment on any individuals or any circumstances, but we continue to have positive conversations with candidates about the role. Like I said, we hope to conclude that as soon as possible.

"I'm not going to talk about any candidates or any specifics."

There had been hope that Ireland would have a man in place for the two games to come in March, but as already mentioned, that has not been the case. Canham was pushed further about a date and refused to give one, stating that they had to respect candidate confidentiality.

"The process is ongoing. We hope to conclude that as soon as possible. It's a confidential process. We ran a very tight process with respect to all the people that we spoke to and are speaking to. We just need to make sure that we keep that completely confidential."

The Republic of Ireland will face Belgium and Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium in March.

The first of the two friendlies will see Belgium visit Dublin on March 23 for a 5 p.m. kick-off, with Switzerland following three days later at 7:45 p.m.