Dundalk have identified Robbie Keane as one of their targets to take over from Vinny Perth and take charge of the Lilywhites.
The Louth club dismissed Perth on Thursday night, 24 hours after a 3-0 loss to Slovenian side NK Celje in the first qualifying round of the Champions League. Perth's assistant John Gill has been placed in temporary charge and will oversee the team for today's Premier Division game against Sligo Rovers, Dundalk in danger of falling even further behind in the title race as they are already four points off second place.
Canadian-born Mark Burton, who had been on the staff at Dundalk, had been linked with the job, on a semi-permanent basis until the end of the season.
But reports locally suggest that the club's US-based owners are eager to make a statement by landing a big-name coach and former Ireland star Keane is at the top of their list.
Domestically, Bohemians boss Keith Long is also admired by the Dundalk board for the job he has done at Dalymount Park on a limited budget, but the club's owners want to recruit Perth's replacement from outside the league.
Keane has been out of work since June when he left as part of a clear-out with the club's sacking of Jonathan Woodate. He is officially still on the FAI payroll, where he had been coach on Mick McCarthy's senior setup but has not played any role since McCarthy left and was replaced by Stephen Kenny, Kenny making it clear that he had no place for Keane on his coaching staff.
Dundalk's owners are keen to speak to the former Ireland captain, who is currently based in Ireland and would be free to take up any post with no travel complications from Covid-19, and as a graduate of the FAI's pro-licence course, where Keane studied alongside Perth, he is qualified to take a post here.
But Keane is said to have ambitions to manage in England and may fend off any interest from Dundalk to focus on getting a job in the UK.