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Lennon says decision on Ireland boss is ‘imminent’



Neil Lennon has said a decision on the next Republic of Ireland manager is “imminent” as a drawn out saga heads for its conclusion.

The former Celtic boss is in the running to succeed Stephen Kenny, but it’s been widely reported that he is not first choice. Lee Carsley is the man the FAI have identified as their No 1 target, having so impressively enhanced his reputation as head coach of the England under-21s.

On Wednesday, Shay Given aired his belief that his former international teammate Carsley will not take the gig. “It’s my understanding that it is not going to be Lee Carsley,” said Given, speaking on RTÉ’s Champions League coverage. “Maybe not now, but maybe in the future Lee might be interested.”

Gus Poyet and Chris Coleman are other potential candidates, but it’s Lennon who looks most likely to get the job if Carsley passes it up.

Back in November, Lennon described it as “a fabulous job”, adding: “If the opportunity came along, I would love to have the conversation. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often.”

He appeared on Premier Sports’ coverage of Burnley v Arsenal on Saturday and when quizzed on when there might be white smoke on an appointment, he said: “It is imminent, whether that be today, tomorrow, or the next couple of days.

“What that decision is, I don’t know myself, but I’m pretty sure that there will be a result soon. I don’t know the decision as yet.”

It’s a massive week for the FAI. On Tuesday, director of football Marc Canham will unveil the association’s Football Pathways Plan. Two days later, an FAI delegation will be in Leinster House for a meeting with the Public Accounts Committee.

Ireland’s next fixtures take place in March when they will play Belgium and Switzerland in a pair of Aviva Stadium friendlies.

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