BRIAN KERR has emerged as a candidate for the Northern Ireland job after ending his association with the Faroe Islands.
Dubliner Kerr had been expected to sign a new contract which would have seen him take charge of the Faroes against the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers, but late last night the Faroe Islands' FA announced that it had parted company with Kerr as it "was not possible to agree a new contract".
Kerr's assistant John McDonnell will also leave.
Kerr took over as manager of the Faroes in April 2009 and earned praise for improving their fortunes.
They beat Lithuania 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier, and in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign they beat Estonia (Ireland's play-off opponents), drew with Northern Ireland and were only beaten 1-0 by Italy.
His surprise exit from the Faroes will stoke interest from the Irish FA in Kerr as he has already expressed an interest in the Northern Ireland job, stating two weeks ago that he would "take the job tomorrow" if he was offered it.
Kerr has a good chance of succeeding Nigel Worthington for several reasons.
He has already managed at senior international level, has a detailed knowledge of the lower leagues of the English game, from which the North draw their players, has a family connection with the North - his dad was from Belfast - and he would also be seen as an asset in stopping the flood of Northern Ireland-born players defecting to the Republic.