Catholic manager Fenlon tipped to take over at Linfield
A Catholic football manager from the Republic of Ireland is the frontrunner for the top job at Irish League giants Linfield.
The Belfast club's current manager David Jeffrey sent shockwaves throughout the local game when he announced he is stepping down from the role at the end of the season.
During his 17-year tenure, Linfield has won nine league championships and seven Irish Cups.
Linfield chairman Jim Kerr yesterday revealed the club hopes to have a replacement lined-up within weeks.
And the man widely tipped to take over the Blues – which has a mainly unionist following – is the club's former star, Dublin-born Pat Fenlon.
He has been out of work since November when he quit Scottish side Hibernian. He previously enjoyed success in the Republic with Shelbourne and Bohemians, and also had a stint with Derry City.
Former Northern Ireland international striker David Healy has also been heavily linked with the job but lacks managerial experience.
Jeffrey said leaving at the end of the season "will be the right time for my time as manager of this great club to come to an end".
The 51-year-old is currently one short of Roy Coyle's tally of 31 trophies as manager of the Irish League's most successful club.
"I have concluded that it really would be in the club's interests, and my interests, if I stepped down at the end of the current season," he said.
"With my situation clarified, I believe our players will be free to play to their full potential and be fully focused on winning back the Gibson Cup and the County Antrim Shield.
"I am unequivocal that the end of the season will be the right time for my time as manager of this great club to come to an end."