Mick McCarthy has emerged as the new frontrunner to replace Giovanni Trapattoni as Republic of Ireland manager, a source has told ESPN FC.
Ireland skipper Robbie Keane and national team legend Liam Brady have already endorsed McCarthy's return to the job he held between 1996 and 2002 in recent days and it seems the tide is now turning in his favour.
Bookmakers have slashed the odds on Ipswich manager McCarthy taking the job and lengthened the odds on former favourite Martin O'Neill, with Roy Keane still considered to be an outsider for the job.
Brady suggests McCarthy’s experience in club football and as Ireland boss mean he is the ideal candidate for the job.
“I don’t whether it would be possible to get him, but he would be number one on my list,” Brady told RTE. “He has demonstrated before his capability to do the job.”
During his previous stint in charge, McCarthy had to handle Roy Keane’s infamous walkout during the 2002 World Cup finals, when the Manchester United midfielder angrily questioned his management style.
Brady said: “He has broad shoulders and had to put up with an awful lot of messing when [the Keane incident] happened. People turned against him, public opinion turned against him and most of the media turned against him on the back of how popular Roy Keane was. However, Mick got on with it and he demonstrated since then that he is a very capable manager.”
Meanwhile, Ireland defender Richard Dunne has backed McCarthy to make a successful return as national team boss.
“He said he might be interested in it and, having worked with him before, I really enjoyed it, so if he was the FAI's choice, that would be great,” Dunne said. “I think we have got a good squad and it just needs putting into place, really -- the team with a leader we can look to and hopefully someone who can guide us to more tournaments.”