Football round-up: Roy Keane set for No 2 role on Martin O'Neill's Ireland staff

 

Roy Keane is close to a remarkable return to football, with key figures in the Football Association of Ireland coming round to the idea of the former midfielder taking a job as assistant to Martin O'Neill, the prospective new national manager.

Advanced talks between O'Neill and the FAI have been held over the past week and the ex-Celtic manager is close to accepting the role of Giovanni Trapattoni's replacement.

It was during those talks that the 61-year-old floated the idea of Keane becoming his assistant, despite the ex-Manchester United captain initially being seen as a contender for the top job. Keane's fractious history with the Irish hierarchy had many in the association resistant, with the 42-year-old having been involved in a public exchange of insults with chief executive John Delaney as recently as November 2009.

O'Neill's suggestion was initially met with surprise, but it has come to be seen by the FAI as an exciting prospect which could revive public enthusiasm for the national side after their failure to qualify for the World Cup. Elements of Keane's package have already been agreed.

Keane and O'Neill are said to enjoy a good relationship, with the duo scheduled to appear together on Tuesday as ITV pundits for Manchester United's Champions' League trip to Real Sociedad.

One potential remaining complication, however, is the situation at Fulham, with O'Neill known to be interested in replacing Martin Jol if the Dutchman is sacked.

Tangerine trauma averted

Charlie Mulgrew equalised in injury time yesterday to deny Dundee United their first Scottish Premier League win at Celtic in 21 years.

Stuart Armstrong latched on to Nadir Ciftci's pass to put the Tangerines ahead towards the end of the first half and the SPL leaders were on course for a shock defeat until Mulgrew headed home from a cross by Emilio Izaguirre.

Knockaert blow for Zola

Anthony Knockaert banished memories of last season's Championship play-off nightmare by scoring in Leicester City's 3-0 victory at Watford. The Frenchman, who missed a penalty at Vicarage Road in May that cost his side a place at Wembley, struck a crucial second goal after Chris Wood's freak early opener. With the Foxes then in total control, Lloyd Dyer sealed the win.

Nigel Pearson, Leicester's manager, said: "There was always going to be added spice to the build-up. For the players who were with us last year, it will be a very important win on lots of different levels." Gianfranco Zola, Watford's head coach, said: "What disappointed me is how poor we were with the ball."

Vokes lifts Burnley fog

Shane Lowry's own goal ensured Burnley, the Championship leaders, extended their unbeaten run to 10 League games after an absorbing 2-2 draw with Millwall at the Den.

Efforts from Scott McDonald and Danny Shittu put the Lions two goals ahead but Sean Dyche's team hit back through Sam Vokes and Lowry's second-half error.

"Their second goal sprang us into life, we couldn't get out of a fog in the first 30 minutes," said Dyche.

Hill ruins McClaren return

Clint Hill struck a second-half winner to ensure an unhappy return to Loftus Road for Derby's Steve McClaren.

The ex-England manager, who left his coaching position at Queens Park Rangers to take over at Pride Park, saw his side draw level through Simon Dawkins after Jermaine Jenas's early tap-in.

But third-placed QPR sealed a 2-1 victory in the 63rd minute after Hill go the final touch to Alejandro Faurlin's free-kick. That condemned McClaren to his first defeat since joining Derby. QPR are waiting for medical updates on Faurlin, who was carried off with 15 minutes left.

"He's done his knee and it doesn't look very good," said Harry Redknapp, QPR's manager. "I wouldn't want to make a judgement but it looks a bad injury."

Dobbie cuts down Forest

Blackpool's striker Stephen Dobbie hit a 90th-minute winner to break the resolve of 10-man Nottingham Forest. Karl Darlow had earlier saved Tom Ince's penalty after Djamel Abdoun was dismissed in the 34th minute for conceding the spot-kick with a clumsy foul on Neal Bishop. The visitors stay fourth.

Owls off the mark

Matty Fryatt struck twice as Sheffield Wednesday recorded their first win of the season in style with a 5-2 home demolition of Reading. Efforts from Michail Antonio, Connor Wickham and Sean Morrison's own goal added to the Owls' sense of relief.

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