FAI want Ferguson to replace Kerr

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The Independent Football

With no fixtures planned until March - the FAI are unlikely to take up the option of a friendly in November - there is no rush to appoint a successor. Don Givens, the manager of the Under-21s, could take charge in the spring fixture.

But it is the prospect of an approach to Ferguson, as improbable as it sounds, which is the most astonishing. His name has been linked to the job in the past - he was asked after Jack Charlton stood down in 1995 - and would be a popular choice. Ferguson refused then, although he told the FAI he was flattered by the link. That approach was made by Joe Delaney, the then treasurer, whose son, John, is now chief executive.

The Delaneys have remained friends with Ferguson and are passionate Manchester United fans. They believe that if he leaves Old Trafford he may be persuaded to take over.

The FAI, although not blessed with a huge budget, are willing to pay more for Kerr's replacement because they cannot afford to miss out on another major tournament - especially with their contribution towards the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road to be found. The involvement of Ferguson may also persuade Keane to change his mind and become involved in the management of his country sooner than expected.

If Ferguson is not approached, the FAI will draw up a list of alternative candidates and are likely to focus on a younger, dynamic coach who can squeeze as much as he can from limited resources.

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