FORMER Republic of Ireland captain, Kenny Cunningham, is the latest high profile candidate to throw his hat into the ring for the vacant managerial position at the Brandywell.
It is understood that Derry City’s Board of Directors have interviewed all available local candidates for the coveted post and will now turn their attentions to outside applicants, with Cunningham and ex-Everton and Ireland winger, Kevin Sheedy, both interested in the job.
Cunningham, who retired from football more than a decade ago having won 72 caps for Ireland, has since worked as a pundit with RTE and Newstalk. The former Birmingham City and Sunderland defender is also a UEFA Pro Licence holder and is understood to be keen to move into management.
While the interview process is set to continue this week, Declan Devine, who guided the ‘Candy Stripes’ to the FAI Cup triumph in 2012, before parting company with the club at the end of the 2013 campaign, remains a popular front-runner.
The Creggan man is currently employed as an Elite Performance Coach with the IFA but is understood to be interested in a second stint in the Brandywell hotseat and has already held talks with the Derry Board.
Devine’s former No. 2 and past interim boss, Paul Hegarty, is also believed to have been interviewed last Saturday by Board members following Finn Harps’ superb promotion play-off victory over Limerick.
However, the Donegal man does not possess a UEFA Pro Licence - a prerequisite to manage in the Airtricity Premier Division under an FAI ruling - and therefore is out of the running for the manager’s post.
Former Derry City captain, Kevin Deery and defender, Darren Kelly have also been interviewed for the role in recent days while there’s been speculation that Martin McCann and Ruaidhri Higgins are being considered for potential first team coaching roles.
In fact, there’s been no shortage of interest in the vacant position with almost 80 applicants making contact with the club either directly or through intermediaries.
Well know football figures such as Owen Coyle, Steve Lomas, Steve Kean and ex-Newcastle United midfielder, Lee Clark have also declared an interest in the role vacated by Kenny Shiels two weeks ago.
It’s believed the Board of Directors will announce the identity of the new manager over the coming days and while Devine is a firm favourite for a return to the Lone Moor Road venue, whoever gets the post will have a major rebuilding job on their hands with the majority of last season’s squad out of contract.