Martin O'Neill set to be new Republic of Ireland manager and wants Roy Keane as assistant
Sky Sports sources understand Martin O'Neill is on the verge of becoming Ireland coach and wants Roy Keane as his No.2.
Last Updated: 02/11/13 10:16am
O'Neill has been out of work since being sacked by Sunderland in late March, but the former Northern Ireland international is now poised to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni.
Veteran Italian coach Trapattoni left his position in September after Ireland's World Cup hopes had ended and Noel King took charge for the final two qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan.
Former Celtic boss O'Neill was immediately put forward as a leading candidate to replace Trapattoni, along with ex-boss Mick McCarthy and Keane.
It is understood that O'Neill wanted time to think about the possibility of becoming an international coach, but he held talks with Football Association of Ireland officials on Friday.
The exact terms of a contract have yet to be discussed, but O'Neill expressed his interest in taking the job and an announcement could be made in the next few days.
The FAI is keen to appoint O'Neill before the home friendly with Latvia on 15th November and the players meet up for a training camp on Sunday 10th November.
O'Neill is also hoping to name former Ireland captain Keane as his No.2, with his long-time assistant John Robertson currently recovering from a heart attack.
Keane has held talks with the FAI about becoming O'Neill's assistant and he has been out of management since being sacked by Ipswich Town in January 2011.
He was infamously sent home from the 2002 World Cup in the Far East by then-coach McCarthy following his criticism of the squad's training facilities.
The ex-Manchester United captain also has a frosty relationship with John Delaney and has publically criticised the FAI chief executive in the past.
Sky Bet had suspended betting on Friday on O'Neill becoming the next Ireland boss after he was backed at a price as short as 1/20.
He had shared favouritism with McCarthy over the last few weeks but attracted a surge of interest on Friday morning, with his price plummeting amid a flurry of significant bets.
Sky Bet Football Trader Chris Spicer said: "Having held a fairly balanced book on the next Republic of Ireland manager, we suddenly saw a surge of bets on O'Neill getting the post on Friday morning.
"Regardless of how much we shortened our odds the money kept coming, so we have been forced to suspend the market."