Leicester City set to approach Martin O'Neill this weekend about emotional Foxes return

Foxes hierarchy think they have found the man to replace Nigel Pearson

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The Independent Football

Leicester City are set to approach the Football Association of Ireland this weekend to ask for permission to speak with Martin O'Neill about their vacant manager position.

The 63-year-old led the Foxes to four top-ten Premier League finishes as well as two League Cup triumphs in the late 1990s and two national bookmakers have now suspended betting on him returning.

It has since been reported the FAI will not stand in O'Neill's way if he wishes to return to the East Midlands this summer.

The Independent believes director of football Jon Rudkin is still close friends with the former Celtic and Aston Villa boss while the club made an attempt to lure him back to Filbert Way following the sacking of Sven-Göran Eriksson in 2011.

Former player and current Bolton manager Neil Lennon, who played European football under the former Leicester boss at Filbert Street, has also been linked with the vacant post.

Nigel Pearson was sacked by Leicester last month despite securing their top flight status after a series of off-field controversies led to a 'difference in perspective' forming between him and the board.

Roy Keane is favourite to replace Martin O'Neill if he leaves for Leicester

If O'Neill were to re-join Leicester Roy Keane is expected to take control for the remaining four Euro 2016 qualifiers.

The Northern Irishman currently earns €1.2m annually with Ireland and, following the disappointing home draw with Scotland in June, his departure may even be welcomed by some supporters.

His desire to return to the Premier League is a thinly veiled one and, when asked last season when Leicester were favourites to be relegated if he would consider coming back, told BBC Radio Leicester: “Never say never.”

Leicester have already made contact with Dutchman Guus Hiddink but the former Real Madrid and Chelsea boss is thought to be considering retirement after leaving the Holland set-up for the second time.

Claudio Ranieri is willing to discuss the job with Leicester officials

Claudio Ranieri also announced his interest in the role while rumours circulated last night that former USA head coach Bob Bradley may be interested.

O'Neill, however, presents the Leicester board with the possibility of repairing fractured relations with some supporters aggrieved at Pearson's untimely dismissal.