Andrew Omobamidele scored on his debut for Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last week and was given his Premier League debut at the weekend. [Inpho/Laszlo Gecko]

Carsley tipped for Republic job

Former Irish international Lee Carsley seems likely to be confirmed as Stephen Kenny’s replacement when the FAI Board meet next Tuesday. There were reports Thursday that betting as been suspended on who will be the next Republic of Ireland manager as the former international moves from hot favorite to near certainly.

It emerged at the weekend that Chris Hughton, who is currently managing Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, has not made the short list. An initial field of 15 candidates in December, it was thought that it been whittled down to a final shortlist that included Carsley and Neil Lennon. 

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Carsley, who will be 50 at the end of February, is currently in charge of the England under 21 team, having led them to win the European under 21 championship last summer. Born in Birmingham, he qualified for Ireland through his grandmother, who hailed from Dunmanway in Cork and won 40 Irish caps. He has never managed an English club full-time, but has filled in as caretaker manager at Coventry and Birmingham City. 

Lee Carsley pictured when training with the Republic of Ireland in 2007. [Inpho/Donall Farmer]


Liverpool won 4-0 away to Bournemouth on Sunday to move five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the EPL table. On Saturday Arsenal had beaten Crystal Palace 5-0 to join City and Aston Villa, who are now all on 43 points. At the end of the Arsenal game at the Emirates the Palace supporters unfurled a large poster which was probably aimed at the Palace board and manager Roy Hodgson. It read: ‘‘Wasted potential. On and off the pitch, weak decisions. Taking us backwards.’’ A defeat for a club in the bottom half of the table at title-chasing Arsenal is not, in isolation, a poor result. But for the Eagles’ supporters it was the latest in a bad run of form that has them sliding closer towards relegation. Hodgson said: ‘‘It is a struggle. There is no doubt we have to keep looking over our shoulder and we are in a relegation battle, no question about that. I believe the team and club, and the group of players we have, are more than good enough to get us away from the relegation zone.’’ Hodgson believes, but the fans are clearly losing patience.



Irish international defender Andrew Omobamidele scored on his debut for Nottingham Forest in their 3rd round FA Cup replay win over Blackpool last week. Omobamidele, 21, who became the second most-expensive Irish player ever in a €23 million move from Norwich in September last year, has been forced to wait patiently for a first-team appearance. Forest will now play Bristol City in the 4th round on Friday night. The young man who grew up in Leixlip in County Kildare, followed up his FA Cup debut with his League debut against Brentford on Saturday where Ivan Toney played his first game for the Bees in 259 days following his eight-ban for breaching FA gambling rules. Toney was made captain against Forest on Saturday and duly equalized for Brentford at 19 minutes after Danilo had given Forest the lead at three minutes and Brentford went on to win 3-2. Sheffield United were awarded a penalty in the 98th minute when Hammers keeper Areola took out Oli McBurnie. And having been made to wait to take the kick, the clock said 103 minutes when McBurnie stepped up to fire the ball past sub keeper Fabianski with Areola forced to leave the pitch after receiving treatment.

EPL results: Arsenal 5, Crystal Palace 0; Brentford 3, Nottingham Forest 2; Brighton 0, Wolves 0; Bournemouth 0, Liverpool 4; Sheffield Utd 2, West Ham United 2. 



Another Irish player on target in the FA Cup last week was Adam Idah, who scored from the penalty spot in Norwich’s 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers. The Canaries are away to Liverpool in the 4th round on Sunday next.

 In the Championship Irish international Will Smallbone was among the goals as Southampton won 3-1 away to Swansea to go second in the table. The Saints broke a 103-year-old club record by going 21 games unbeaten. Leaders Leicester City were due to play Ipswich Town on Monday night. Sheffield stay bottom despite rescuing a point with what was officially the latest goal in the EPL history. 

Meanwhile Newport County manager Graham Coughlan got a boost ahead of next Sunday’s big FA Cup game against Manchester United last Saturday as County beat Welsh rivals Wrexham 1-0 to climb to 14th place in the League Two table. Saturday’s game was watched by a crowd of 9,537 after temporary stands were erected at both ends of the ground.



A date has been set for an independent commission to hear the EPL’s 115  rule irregularities charges against Manchester City, the league’s chief executive Richard Masters told British MPs last week. Masters didn’t reveal the date, but said the case was “progressing,” as he insisted that all top-flight clubs were being treated equally under the league’s rules. Everton face the prospect of two points deductions for breaches of the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules before any conclusion is reached in the Manchester City case, even though charges were laid in the City case in February last year. Nottingham Forest also face a sanction after they were referred to an independent commission in relation to PSR along with Everton, who already have had a 10-point deduction, which they are appealing.

Meanwhile Manchester United have lured Manchester City’s Omar Berrada across the city to become the club’s new chief executive. Berrada has been chosen to succeed Richard Arnold in a major coup for INEOS ahead of their 24 percent stake being ratified. Arnold left the club last year ahead of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS arrival. Berrada, who was born in Paris to Moroccan parents, is considered one of the key figures behind City’s  recent success both on and off the field. However, Berrada was not working with City during the period when they are accused of the 115 rule breaches. 



Former Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says his decision to leave Saudi Arabia club Al Ettifaq and join Ajax was for purely footballing reasons and he still has respect for the Saudi League. Henderson moved to Al-Ettifaq from Liverpool last summer, but only stayed six months. His decision to go to Saudi Arabia, where same-sex relationships are illegal, caused controversy in the UK as he had previously been a high-profile supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. Meanwhile Steven Gerrard has agreed a two-year contract extension with Al Ettifaq, despite a dismal spell in charge. Now Gerrard is contracted to Al Ettifaq until 2027 on a reported salary of £15 million.



League of Ireland director Mark Scanlon admitted last week that half of the 10 League of Ireland Premier Division club’s grounds are not suitable for a live television broadcast. Drogheda and Dundalk are two of the obvious clubs as they were not selected for a live television game in 2023. Scanlon said: ‘‘There are certain venues that the broadcasters are unwilling to broadcast from. Either the broadcast infrastructure around the ground is not tup to standard, or sometimes it’s the way the backdrop looks. It a real issue and one we cannot shy away from.’’ Scanlon was speaking at the announcement by Virgin  V that they are going to double their number of live games this season from 7 to 14. RTE also show a number of live games and there is also a pay per view LOI TV service.



Aaron McEneff  has re-joined Shamrock Rovers on an initial loan from Perth Glory, with the deal to become a permanent transfer at the end of the season. The Derry-born midfielder previously played for the Hoops for two seasons, 2019 and 2020, helping them to League and FAI Cup success. The 28-year-old spent a couple of seasons as a youth player with Tottenham, before joining his hometown club in 2018. After his previous spell with Rovers, McEneff moved to Scotland, signing for Hearts. He was on the move again in 2022, when he joined Australian club Perth Glory. Rovers have also confirmed former Sligo Rovers striker Johnny Kenny, who joined the Dublin Hoops on loan from Celtic last season, is staying in Tallaght for another season.