Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy favourite to return to Republic of Ireland

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 12 January 2018, 10:15

Mick McCarthy has emerged as the surprise new favourite to return to the Republic of Ireland after bookmakers Paddy Power cut his odds from 8/1 to 3/1, as the Ipswich Town boss replaces Roy Keane at the top of the market.

Martin O’Neill’s future at The Boys In Green is up in the air following reports that he’s in talks with managerless Stoke City, who axed Mark Hughes last weekend, although it now appears that the Potters could instead opt for Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores.

McCarthy previously managed Ireland between 1996 and 2002, agonisingly missing out on qualification to the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, before leading his troops through to the 2002 World Cup, and then the last-16.

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Despite their fine showing in Korea and Japan, there will always remain the question of ‘what could have been?’ following the controversial exit of skipper Roy Keane before the first game after a spat with McCarthy.

McCarthy went on to have spells with Sunderland and Wolves, while he’s been in charge of Ipswich since 2012, making him the longest-serving manager in the Championship - a division the Tractor Boys have been stuck in since 2002.

McCarthy came under immense pressure at points last season, which saw Ipswich finish in 16th - just four points above the drop zone - while the Suffolk side are currently languishing in mid-table, seven points adrift of the play-offs.

A return to Ireland does certainly make for interesting reading, and it’s a rumour that could well pick up steam in the next few days. Meanwhile, other contenders in the betting include Neil Lennon, Paul Clement, Stephen Kenny and Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill, whereas Alan Curbishley is a 100/1 shot.

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