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Ian Baraclough in pole position to succeed O'Neill as Northern Ireland manager

 

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Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough

The Irish FA hope to announce a new Northern Ireland manager on Monday with Ian Baraclough now the firm favourite to land the job.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 boss looks set to edge out Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, ex-St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright, the IFA's Elite Performance Director Jim Magilton and Northern Ireland women's boss Kenny Shiels and be handed the opportunity of building on Michael O'Neill's legacy.

When O'Neill was appointed Stoke City boss in November, the 49-year-old Englishman became an early bookies favourite for the post.

The Irish FA indicated they wished to maintain an element of continuity in making their appointment and Baraclough fits the bill having previously worked with O'Neill.

Baraclough, who transformed the fortunes of the Under-21 side, previously stated: "I want to manage at the highest level possible and would be honoured if I was asked to do the job.

"When I first took the Under-21s I never imagined I would be linked to Michael's job."

It's understood an offer has been put to the preferred candidate with an announcement expected early next week.

Belfast Telegraph