MARTIN O’Neill has revealed that he is determined to keep Roy Keane as assistant manager, as speculation mounts that the Corkman could become Neil Lennon’s successor at Celtic.
The Ireland manager confirmed during a press conference last night that Keane had been approached by Celtic’s majority shareholder Dermot Desmond earlier in the week for an informal chat regarding the role.
He admitted that whilst he would fight to maintain his managerial partnership with Keane, the opportunity would certainly be a tempting one for his right hand man.
The pair had discussed the potential move on Thursday morning, O’Neill confirmed, with his number two also receiving “a number” of offers from other clubs that he will need to consider.
They will travel to London today ahead of Ireland's friendly with Italy tomorrow evening and then on to New York next Wednesday for the US tour, a period in which it is expected that Keane’s future will be decided.
Whilst O’Neill and the FAI are keen to retain the Irish assistant manager, it has been accepted that the decision may be out of their hands.
"I will do my very best, I'm going to do my very best," said O'Neill, when asked if he was planning to convince Keane to continue on in his international managerial role.
"I would be very disappointed to lose him.
"But it's a very big job, obviously, and those kind of offers might not come around often."
"I want him to stay because I think it would be great, but then again, the idea that we only have X number of games during the course of the season.
"I've told you before myself, the thing that I found, that I knew I would do, going into international management is (missing) the day-to- day running of affairs.
"I am enjoying this immensely, but it's something that has taken me a little bit of time to get used to."
Celtic last night released a statement saying they were in discussions with a number of 'excellent' candidates.
"We will continue the process and select who we regard as the best appointment for Celtic," said the Glasgow club’s statement.
It added: "We will update our supporters as soon as this process is complete."