Giovanni Trapattoni is the latest in a long line of changing favourites to become the Republic of Ireland's new manager, with the FA of Ireland hoping to announce the Italian's appointment soon if an interview within the next few days goes smoothly. Ireland play Brazil in a friendly this evening and no talks will be held until that is out of the way.
Trapattoni, 68, who managed his own country between 2000 and 2004, is now the preferred candidate of the FAI. Terry Venables, who has already been interviewed, is the association's standby choice, and Billy Davies will also be given a chance to make a case for the job, although the latter is understood to be a rank outsider.
The new man should be in place within a week, on a contract worth around £700,000 per year with a bonus schedule that could pay as much again if Ireland reach the 2010 World Cup finals.
Trapattoni has a glittering CV with Juventus, Milan, Internazionale, Bayern Munich and Benfica among others. He is currently managing Salzburg in Austria and is understood to want the Ireland job even though his club do not want him to leave.
Ireland's caretaker coach, Don Givens, yesterday named his side to face Brazil, with Damien Duff awarded a 67th cap after a 10-month absence.
The Newcastle winger will play in midfield alongside Everton's Lee Carsley, Sunderland's Liam Miller and Celtic's Aiden McGeady. Shay Given will play in goal, with Steven Kelly, John O'Shea, Richard Dunne and Kevin Kilbane in defence and Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle up front. Duff has not played for his country since sustaining a serious foot injury for his club last March.
Dunne yesterday voiced the frustration of the Irish players at the lack of a permanent successor to Steve Staunton, whose contract was terminated in October after the team failed to qualify for Euro 2008. "It's annoying most of all because nobody knows what is going on," he said.
The Ipswich defender Alex Bruce was called into the squad on Monday to provide cover amid reports that Bolton Wanderers' Andy O'Brien had retired from international football. Givens said yesterday he had not been able to contact O'Brien to confirm his departure.
Brazil have injury problems. Milan's Kaka is out with a knee problem, and his team-mate Alexandre Pato, a striker who had been hoping to make his Brazil debut, is out with a twisted ankle.
Republic of Ireland (4-4-2): Given (Newcastle United); Kelly (Birmingham City), O'Shea (Manchester United), Dunne (Manchester City), Kilbane (Wigan Athletic); Duff (Newcastle United), Carsley (Everton), Miller (Sunderland), Mc-Geady (Celtic); Keane (Tottenham), Doyle (Reading).
Brazil (possible 4-4-2): Renan; Rafinha, Marcelo, Breno, Alex; Lucas, Tiago Neves, Anderson, Hernandes; Rafael Sobis, Robinho.