Republic of Ireland appointment of Martin O'Neill edges closer with decision set to be made in the next week

The recruitment team of Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter will give the FAI their report on Monday with bookies suspending the betting on O'Neill's imminent arrival

A number of bookmakers have suspended betting on the next Republic of Ireland manager after a flurry of bets saw long-standing favourite Martin O’Neill backed off the market.

The Irish Independent claims that the recruitment team of Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter will present their report to the Football Association of Ireland on Monday, with Noel King set to draft a preliminary 40-man squad for the November friendlies against Latvia and Poland.

The former Sunderland boss, who has been out of work since departing the Stadium of Light in March, has been in contact with the FAI through intermediaries, and he is expected to give his answer to their approach this week.

Another frontrunner for the job was Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy, although the Tractor Boys’ managing director Ian Milne confirmed that there has been no approach for the man that led the Republic of Ireland between 1996 and 2002.

“We’ve had no approach – the owner, us at the club, or Mick,” confirmed Milne.

However, McCarthy’s representatives believe that O’Neill is the leading candidate for the job, although there is also a belief that a third dark horse could be in the running for the role. O’Neill’s uncertainty over his ambitions at club level means that his appointment is by no means a forgone conclusion.

It is thought that the addition of the November 15 friendly with Latvia at the Aviva Stadium is a sign that a new man will be in charge before then, as the FAI were reluctant to arrange a further friendly with a caretaker manager still in charge.

Under-21 manager King will likely pick a preliminary squad due to the Fifa regulation that nations must inform clubs two weeks in advance if their players could be required for international duty, with King having taken to the dugout for the final two World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Germany last month.

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