Martin O’Neill dismisses link with Nottingham Forest

Irish manager denies any talks have taken place regarding vacant position at English Championship club

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill had a successfull period as a player with Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough. Photograph: Inpho.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill had a successfull period as a player with Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough. Photograph: Inpho.

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 01:00

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has dismissed suggestions that he was is about to hold talks with Nottingham Forest about taking charge at the club on an interim basis until the end of the season.

The Daily Mail suggested in a report published on its website last night that Forest anticipate talking to the Derry man today about the position which has been vacant since Billy Davies was sacked at the start of the week but O’Neill has said there has been no contact and he is unaware of anything that might have given rise to the story.

“I’ve spoken to Martin,” said an FAI spokesman reacting to enquiries about the story last night, “he says there’s nothing in it and he doesn’t know where it’s come from.”

Forest are currently seventh in the Championship, just one place off the play-off places and face an important game with eighth-placed Ipswich this weekend.

Owner Fawaz Al Hawasi he hopes to have a new manager in place by the end of next week but has already been turned down by Neil Warnock and Stuart Pearce while there is a suggestion that at least one of the other main candidates, Gianfranco Zola, would only take the job in the summer.

Forest are reported to be open to the idea of hiring somebody on a short-term deal until then so as to be able to take more time over a permanent appointment.

But speaking on Wednesday night in Cork, O’Neill’s assistant Roy Keane, who like O’Neill played at the club under Brian Clough, when asked about the prospect of the pair of them taking over together said: “No, there’ll always be speculation, I was linked with a job a few months ago and I’ve had opportunities to go abroad but me and Martin have been in the door two minutes with the senior team and we’re enjoying it.

“There’s a big, big challenge ahead, even the Serbia match was a learning curve for us in terms of preparation and boundaries with people and even the media and the FAI. Sometimes with this speculation you’d take it as a compliment. Forest are a top club but my intentions are to continue working with Martin and the senior team and try and qualify.”

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