Tommy Wright is now a serious contender for the Northern Ireland job after leaving St Johnstone.
That's the view of Linfield Swifts manager David Dorrian, who has worked with the former international goalkeeper at three different clubs - Ballyclare Comrades, Limavady United and Ballymena United.
Dorrian isn't surprised by Wright's Saints departure after seven years in charge and now he hopes his pal can net his dream role of managing his country.
Ian Baraclough, Stephen Robinson, Jim Magilton and Wright have all been linked with the post.
"I think he is a serious contender to succeed Michael O'Neill," said the Swifts chief.
"He has played such a big part in my coaching career and I would love to see him managing Northern Ireland.
"I've never met anyone who was more professional, with an incredible attention to detail.
"He has a wealth of experience and is so well thought of. He's so passionate about the game and proud to have played for Northern Ireland. He's definitely in with a shout of the job.
"I have huge respect for Tommy, he's a great football man with a really nice family.
"International managers have sometimes done what they wanted to at club level and maybe the timing is right for him."
Dorrian continued: “Maybe he feels like he has been away from home a long time and it would be nice to be back.
“Tommy is football mad and there’s no chance he will walk away from the game. Another opportunity will come along and if Stephen Robinson got the Northern Ireland job, Tommy would be a contender for the Motherwell job.”
Dorrian began working with the former Newcastle United stopper at Ballyclare and it was a working relationship that blossomed into friendship.
“I was lucky enough to work with him at three different clubs,” added Dorrian.
“Whenever clubs were bringing in development officers, Tommy was at Ballyclare and he brought me in to take charge of the youth development aspect and we have been friends since then.
“He became manager of Limavady United where he took myself and Jeff Montgomery with him. I lived in Carnmoney but I learned so much from Tommy and he appreciated what I did.
“We went on to Ballymena United together where I took charge of the reserves.”
56-year-old Wright said the end of this season would have been a “perfect time” to leave the Perth club, but now felt “appropriate”.
Dorrian added: “I wasn’t surprised by the news.
“At the end of every season, I was looking to see whether Tommy was staying on.
“Tommy has done an incredible job with St Johnstone but there have been reports of different opinions with the chairman and these things can happen at clubs.
“He was ambitious and maybe the budget cuts made it an even more difficult job for him.
“Winning the Scottish Cup was an incredible achievement but you need to strengthen to keep building.
“Who else can come in and do as good a job as him?”
“I’m the same age as him, I was at Tommy’s 40th birthday party when a few of his old Newcastle team-mates came over. That was a really good night and a surprise for him.”
Wright, who still had two years of his deal to run, led the Saints to their first Scottish Cup win in 2014, as well as European campaigns and several top-six finishes and was the third longest-serving manager in the SPFL.
The Scottish Premiership club say talks had been ongoing for some time about the “much valued” Wright’s departure from McDiarmid Park.