Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Michael O'Neill closes in on new Northern Ireland deal

In talks: Patrick Nelson wants O'Neill to stay on as manager

The Irish FA has moved a step closer to finalising a new contract for international manager Michael O'Neill.

His current deal will expire at the end of the year, with next week's World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan and the trip to Israel four days later being the last two competitive matches under that agreement.

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson and the association's officer bearers want O'Neill to take the country on to the 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign and the 44-year-old is also keen to remain in the post for another two years.

Talks on a new deal have taken place within the last 48 hours and it is understood the negotiations will be finalised soon – possibly before the game in Baku next Friday.

"I have had discussions with the board and Patrick yesterday," revealed O'Neill.

"Those are on-going and it's all very positive to date."

O'Neill will be handed another two-year contract along with his assistant, Billy McKinlay.

Maik Taylor, who was brought in as goalkeeping coach for the rest of the World Cup campaign after Tommy Wright stepped down when he took over as manager of St Johnstone, is expected to be re-engaged.

Stephen Robinson's employment as under-21 manager will also continue.

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