Ex-Preston North End men in Northern Ireland boss’s job hunt

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson played for PNE
Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson played for PNE

Two former Preston players are in the running to fill the Northern Ireland manager vacancy.

Stephen Robinson and David Healy are among the front runners for the job.

Northern Ireland record scorer David Healy

Northern Ireland record scorer David Healy

Michael O’Neill’s move to Stoke has left the Irish FA on the lookout for a new boss.

The search will be finalised once the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign has ended.

O’Neill will remain in charge until then, combining it with his Stoke duties.

Here we assesses some of those in the running:

Stephen Robinson

The former Bournemouth, Preston and Luton midfielder is well known to the IFA, having managed the Under-21s and worked as an assistant to O’Neill.

After a brief spell in charge of Oldham, he has impressed since taking over from Mark McGhee at Motherwell and is guaranteed to be in with a shout.

Tommy Wright

Acted as goalkeeping coach in the early days of O’Neill’s tenure but left to focus on his own career as a number one with St Johnstone.

He lifted the Scottish Cup in 2014 and has held down the post for over six years.

Knows the terrain after a decade in international football in his playing days.

David Healy

Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer and key man in some of the country’s most famous results, including wins over England and Spain.

Already based at Windsor Park having taken over as Linfield boss in 2015, he has delivered a handful of trophies including two league titles.

If overlooked for the main job, he may be groomed as next man in.

Grant McCann

Wore the jersey with pride and passion between 2001 and 2012 and is now winning plenty of admirers at Hull, having previously coached Peterborough and Doncaster.

Would be sorely tempted if approached but already has a good job in the same division O’Neill has just jumped to.

Ian Baraclough

The Englishman is already on the payroll as under-21 manager, a position in which he has overseen shock victories over Spain and Iceland despite a paucity of playing resources.

His knowledge of the next generation would be a plus but a homegrown candidate may be preferable. Previously assisted Robinson at Oldham,