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Who are the contenders to replace Michael O’Neill as Northern Ireland manager?

There are a host of attractive candidates as the IFA assess their options.

Stephen Robinson, Tommy Wright and David Healy could be among the contenders to replace Michael O’Neill (Jeff Holmes/Ian Rutherford/Niall Carson/PA)
Stephen Robinson, Tommy Wright and David Healy could be among the contenders to replace Michael O’Neill (Jeff Holmes/Ian Rutherford/Niall Carson/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Michael O’Neill’s move to Stoke means the Irish Football Association are on the lookout for a new manager, though the job will not be vacant until the Euro 2020 campaign has reached its conclusion.

Here, the PA news agency assesses some of those likely to be in the running.

Stephen Robinson

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Stephen Robinson is a former Northern Ireland Under-21 boss (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The former Bournemouth and Luton player is well known to the IFA, having managed the under-21s and worked as an assistant to O’Neill. After a brief spell in charge of Oldham, he has impressed since taking over from Mark McGhee at Motherwell and is guaranteed to be in with a shout.

Tommy Wright

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Former goalkeeper Tommy Wright would be interested (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Acted as goalkeeping coach in the early days of O’Neill’s tenure but left to focus on his own career as a number one with St Johnstone. He lifted the Scottish Cup in 2014 and has held down the post for over six years. Knows the terrain after a decade in international football in his playing days.

David Healy

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David Healy was a fan favourite as a player (Paul Faith/PA)

Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer and key man in some of the country’s most famous results, including wins over England and Spain. Already based at Windsor Park having taken over as Linfield boss in 2015, he has delivered a handful of trophies including two league titles. If overlooked for the main job, he may be groomed as next man in.

Grant McCann

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Would leaving Hull be a wrench for Grant McCann? (Nigel French/PA)

Wore the jersey with pride and passion between 2001 and 2012 and is now winning plenty of admirers at Hull, having previously coached Peterborough and Doncaster. Would be sorely tempted if approached but already has a good job in the same division O’Neill has just jumped to.

Ian Baraclough

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Current U21 boss Ian Baraclough is a leading English candidate (Gareth Copley/PA)

The Englishman is already on the payroll as under-21 manager, a position in which he has overseen shock victories over Spain and Iceland despite a paucity of playing resources. His knowledge of the next generation would be a plus but a homegrown candidate may be preferable. Previously assisted Robinson at Oldham, could he do so again?

PA

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