Northern Ireland should have a new Under-17 and Under-19 manager next week with interviews for the posts set to take place on Tuesday.
reviously, ex-Celtic coach Stephen Frail was in charge of both teams but, having left to become assistant manager of Dundee United last July, the Irish FA are ready to appoint his successor who once again is lined up to be the boss at Under-17 AND Under-19 level.
Sunday Life Sport understands that former Oldham manager and ex-Portadown, Derry City and York defender Darren Kelly, Diarmuid O’Carroll, previously a player with Cliftonville and Crusaders, ex-Cliftonville and Sligo boss Gerard Lyttle and ex-Lincoln and Doncaster midfielder John Schofield are among the contenders.
While Kelly, O’Carroll and Lyttle, who has impressed in his work at the IFA Academy, are well known and well respected in Northern Ireland football, Englishman Schofield would be viewed as a wildcard choice, though in some circles is viewed as the favourite.
When Michael O’Neill was the manager of Northern Ireland, he had a major say in appointments at youth level and it is expected that current boss Ian Baraclough will have similar influence.
The IFA will hope that this week’s interview process won’t have embarrassing episodes such as when they were replacing O’Neill and candidates met each other in the Windsor Park car park!
Once the Under-17 and Under-19 manager is in place, the IFA will turn their attentions to the Under-21 role. Andy Crosby, who took over on a caretaker basis when Baraclough moved up to the top job last year, is in prime position for that job.