Stockport looking to tempt away McIlroy

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The Independent Football

Stockport County's owner, Brian Kennedy, is ready to make a move to speak to the Northern Ireland manager, Sammy McIlroy, and offer him a three-year contract.

Kennedy has been frustrated in his search for a new manager. McIlroy, who is based locally, has been out of club football since leaving Stockport's neighbours Macclesfield, and is interested in a return to daily involvement after a tough period for Northern Ireland.

John Hollins has been in temporary charge of Stockport but Mcilroy is expected to meet Kennedy today and seems certain to accept the post after Northern Ireland's unsuccessful Euro 2004 qualifying campaign. Northern Ireland have failed to record a single victory in 13 matches stretching back two years, and have not found the net in 1,242 minutes.

McIlroy was distraught after their 1-0 defeat to Greece, who won Group Six, in Athens on Saturday. He admitted then that the job was "killing him" as he was unable to conduct an inquest because the players returned to their clubs.

Stockport's wages had put off the Oldham manager, Iain Dowie, while John Ward, who resigned last week as assistant manager at Carlisle, was also among the other candidates.