19/12/2003

Nicholl remains favourite for NI job

Former Northern Ireland international, Jimmy Nicholl looks favourite to land the national team post following a meeting of the Irish Football Association on Thursday night.

The only problem remaining is whether the post will be full or part-time. Nicholl has stated he would only be interested in the role if it was full-time.

The current Dunfermline assistant was originally favourite for the post in 1994 but was controversially pipped to the job by Bryan Hamilton.

The only other candidate with an outside chance of the job is Gerry Armstrong who says he could balance the role with that of his SKY punditry for Spanish football.

The new manager is likely to be announced in January ahead of the January 13 meeting between the IFA and the Associations of England, Wales, Poland, Austria and Azerbaijan to organise dates for the Group Six World Cup 2006 qualifiers.

Meanwhile, fans favourite for the job Iain Dowie looks set to take over the manager's post at Crystal Palace.

Dowie is believed to have ruffled a few feathers at the IFA over changes he would be keen on implementing if he was approached as Northern Ireland manager. He recently criticised the Association for scrapping the Under 21's from international competition.

Subsequently the former West Ham striker looked elsewhere and looks set to leave his current role at Oldham Athletic where he has taken the cash ravaged club to the brink of promotion.

(MB)

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