Belfast Telegraph

Michael O'Neill targeted for West Brom manager's job as Championship club prepare shortlist

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is one of the bosses being targeted by Championship side West Bromwich Albion.

O'Neill is thought to be among the main candidates to succeed Darren Moore at the Hawthorns.

The club could look to move quickly in their quest to appoint a new manager, with the expectation even for a swoop for O'Neill within the week.

Northern Ireland are beginning two three-day training camps in Manchester ahead of next month's Euro 2020 play-off matches against Estonia and Belarus, one this week and the second to take place next week. Should West Brom act fast, talks could take place between those two camps.

Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley, who has overseen two promotions in three seasons to reach League One, remains the odds-on favourite for the job with O'Neill backed in on Monday to 8/1. Former Brighton boss Chris Hughton is another name in the frame.

West Brom sacked Moore in March with the club fourth in the table and nine points off the automatic promotion places. The move failed to lead to the Premier League, the club winning six of their final 10 league games and finishing in fourth place before losing to Aston Villa on penalties in the play-off semi-final.

O'Neill, of course, has been linked with plenty of other jobs in his seven year stint as Northern Ireland boss. He most recently held talks with the Scottish FA over jumping across the Irish Sea to remain in international football but turned down their offer and instead signed an extension at Windsor Park, lasting until 2024.

Under his previous contract, O'Neill's release fee was £500k so it is expected West Brom would have to pay at least that figure to force the Irish FA to allow the 49-year-old to leave.

O'Neill has previously spoken about the changing nature of club football with managers often given only a short time period in which to achieve success or face being axed.

After being touted as a potential successor to Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City back in March 2017, O'Neill said: "It's the nature of the game now, it's quite sad. The idea of being a manager now is quite different: you do not manage the football club the way you previously would have done in the past. You have to come in and get results, and get results quickly.

"It's a totally different environment you're going into, that week to week you almost have to get results, the tenure is much shorter. You have to fit into a structure at a club where you're not necessarily signing the players.

"All of those (factors) make it something you would have to consider very closely before you would take that decision."

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