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Dundalk boss Vinny Perth rules out taking Northern Ireland U21 job after talks with IFA


Vinny Perth

Vinny Perth

©INPHO/James Crombie

Vinny Perth

Vinny Perth has admitted the vacant Northern Ireland Under-21 manager’s job has come across his radar but the Dundalk boss has ruled himself out of the running and says he has no intention of walking away from the Oriel Park club between now and the end of the season.

Perth joked that only the chance to work as Jose Mourinho’s assistant would tempt him away from his second stint with the Louth club, before adding he expects his Dundalk position to be reviewed in the short-term.

The Dubliner’s contract position is unclear with doubts surrounding the intentions of the club’s American owners in the longer term and the majority of the playing squad out of contract at the end of the season.

Perth feels that performances from the players since his return four weeks ago has justified chairman Bill Hulsizer’s decision to give him a second chance.

Interim Northern Ireland U21 manager Andy Crosby left at the beginning of June to join Port Vale and the Belfast Telegraph understands Perth has spoken to people in the IFA about the job.

But the 44-year-old suggested yesterday that he is staying put.

“People questioned whether I was the right man to come back into this dressing room. Well, I didn’t answer that. The players did,” said Perth.

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“They’ve been absolutely outstanding for me, the buy-in from us as a group. There’s no way, between now and the end of the season, bar Jose Mourinho offering me his assistant manager’s job, am I going anywhere.

“I’m here to fight for this group between now and the end of the season, and hopefully if we continue to do what we’re doing, this club has a big future ahead of them with myself and some of those players in the background. I can’t be any more clearer than that — my commitment is with Dundalk for now until the end of the season, minimum, and hopefully longer.

“I’m in the job four weeks and before that I applied for a lot of jobs. I have been offered some jobs but as it currently stands...what has happened in the last four weeks is that these players, the commitment levels they have shown to me and the team, means I have no intention of walking away from this group.”

Pressed on whether the Northern Ireland U21 role had been on his radar, Perth replied: “It did, but it’s gone now because I’m in a different situation. I’m committed to Dundalk Football Club, and I can only say that.

“I shouldn’t have thrown out that Jose line because then I’ll get the headline off it.

“But at the moment, I’m 120% committed to this group, and I won’t be the next Northern Ireland (U21) manager. I’ll be the Dundalk manager between now and November 30.”

Perth — who was speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Europa Conference League tie with Levadia Tallinn — was then asked if he had any contact with the club’s hierarchy about his own position.

“I think it will be reviewed in the short-term, in terms of where we go. I don’t think it’s an end of the season thing. What we’ve done in the last few weeks is we’ve steadied the ship. I don’t think we’ve turned it around, or miraculously become this great team or club again, but what we’ve done is we’ve steadied the ship a little bit.

“We’ve shown what we can do, and we’ve shown the potential in some of our players here who were written off even by some people in the club, and rightly so, maybe a month or six weeks ago. We’ve shown the potential of the group and we’ve started to have some internal discussions about what the next steps are.

“But it’s only early days. I have nothing concrete on that.”

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