Nacho Novo keen to manage but Glentoran looking closer to home
Glentoran are moving towards the appointment of a home-grown new manager despite an expression of interest from high-profile signing Nacho Novo and a link to his pal Ian Durrant, the former Rangers star and Ibrox assistant manager under Ally McCoist.
Rumours have been rife among the club's support of a Novo-Durrant dream ticket, but Oval sources have ruled out Durrant as an option, not least on the grounds of cost, having commanded a six-figure annual wage in his time as Rangers No.2.
Durrant is nevertheless believed to have been tentatively sounded out by the Glens but is no longer under consideration. Currently injured £1,000 a week signing Novo remains in the picture, however, and would have his backers among the decision-makers at the club.
The Spanish striker will certainly make a shortlist for interview over the next week.
But he will have to talk his way past a combination, strongly favoured by the Oval fanbase, of brothers Alan and Colin Nixon, both former Glens players and supporters and both highly regarded as coaches in their own right.
Currently working under Gary Smyth at neighbours Harland & Wolff Welders, Colin has established quite a reputation for working with and developing young players as U20s coach and enjoys legend status among Glens fans as club record appearance holder on 794 games.
Glentoran, with a thriving Youth Academy, will place a huge importance on that area of expertise in their criteria for a new appointment.
However, in terms of a brotherly double act, Welders first-team coach Alan would assume the hierarchy due to his superior coaching qualifications.
Widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the local game, Alan, who had a spell as a winger with the Glens in the 90s, holds the Uefa Pro licence necessary to manage clubs in European competition, where Glentoran retain ambitions to be involved next season, despite the stuttering start this term which lead to the departure of former boss Alan Kernaghan following last month’s shock League Cup exit to Annagh United.
Colin holds the lesser A licence qualification, enabling him to manage in the Irish League, but his next step will be to secure the Pro licence at the earliest opportunity.
Both will face competition at interview from former Carrick Rangers boss Gary Haveron, who has attended the Glens’ last two games.
IFA coach Darren Murphy would be another favoured candidate in The Oval boardroom but has not applied, nor is he likely to.
Ex-Dungannon boss Murphy, a combative midfielder with Linfield, Glenavon and Portadown during his playing days, was a target when Kernaghan was appointed successor to Eddie Patterson in November of last year, but an unexpected turn of events saw him gravitate into the IFA coaching post earmarked for David Healy before the Northern Ireland legend changed tack and took the Linfield job.
Unless a yet-to-emerge stronger candidate enters the fray, it looks like a straight fight for the post between the Nixon brothers and Haveron.
Director of Football Roy Coyle — who oversaw last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Ards and Tuesday night’s battling 2-2 draw with Glenavon — will remain in his caretaker manager role for this weekend’s Premiership encounter with Crusaders and is also expected to be in the dugout for Tuesday’s County Antrim Shield trip to Ballyclare Comrades as Glens directors settle on their new man inside the next 10 days.