Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Stephen Craigan in running for Glentoran post

Stephen Craigan remains an important player for Motherwell

Glentoran will begin the interview process for their managerial vacancy on Monday with a couple of candidates with no previous background in the local game in the frame and a former Northern Ireland captain on the verge of a tentative approach.

A shortlist has been drawn up which includes former Dundalk boss Ian Foster and it is believed that one more prospective manager from outside of Northern Ireland and with no prior experience of the Irish League will meet with the club.

The Belfast Telegraph also understands that the name of ex-international skipper Stephen Craigan was brought up during board meetings while drawing up a list and while they have not yet made any approach at this stage, it has not been ruled out.

The possibility of Craigan being interested in the role would appear unlikely and there were many obstacles to overcome, including the fact that he is still an important and well-respected player for Motherwell and it has been expected that once he calls time on his playing career, the Comber man will embark on a coaching career in Scotland.

Craigan is an intelligent football pundit and the 35-year-old's footballing abilities are still such that new Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill will at least speak to the player with a move towards persuading him to reconsider his international retirement. Those points would make it unlikely that Craigan will be the next man at the helm. In the frame for the post, vacated by Young last month are the expected names of Roy Walker and Eddie Patterson.

Ex-Northern Ireland defender and current Newry City manager Pat McGibbon will also be interviewed. Former Donegal Celtic manager Paddy Kelly — who also grew up as a Glentoran fan — is also on the shortlist.

Among the applications was Richard Money, the former Luton Town manager who is now favourite to take over as boss of Bristol City. However, there appears to be one essential criteria that has determined the make up of the shortlist — the dreaded Uefa Pro-Licence.

While at this stage it would appear unlikely that Glentoran — currently in sixth place — will achieve one of the European qualification spots, the board are concerned that should that miracle occur, they would be forced to pull out if the boss they choose to replace Young doesn't have the necessary qualifications and thus the club wouldn't have a licence.

The Glens have been warned by the IFA that Uefa will not accept a similar situation to last year when Young, who didn't have the necessary badges at the time, had Roy Coyle, the Director of Football and a license holder, step in for their Europa League ties.

This time, the manager put in place must have a licence or have at least embarked on gaining one.

Walker, Patterson, McGibbon, Kelly and Foster all have their Pro Licence.

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