Tuesday, 25 October 2011

O'Neill favourite with fans and bookies

Martin O'Neill has been installed as an early favourite to replace Sven Goran Eriksson as Leicester City manager after the Swede was sacked last night.

Beloved: Martin O'Neill is a legend at Leicester, where he won promotion and
established the Foxes in the top-ten in the Premier League

The shock decision leaves the Foxes in 13th in the nPower Championship and without a manager as they head into arguably their biggest game of the season when they visit West Ham United on Saturday.

Academy director Jon Rudkin will take charge alongside the last remaining first team coach, goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell, will select the team to face the Hammers but speculation has already turned to who will replace Eriksson on a permanent basis - despite a statement on the club's website confirming that no-one is yet in place to succeed the ex-England boss.

"The process of recruiting a new permanent Manager will begin in the coming days," reads a statement on the club's official website, "There will be no further comments from the Club or any comment on the recruitment process until an appointment is made."

O'Neill, the most successful Leicester manager in recent times, is odds-on favourite at 11/10 to take his former post. The Northern Irishman, who won two league cups in six years at Filbert Street before departing for success with Celtic and a stint at Aston Villa, is also a firm favourite with the fans, with one poll indicating that he is favoured by 55%.

Billy Davies and Mark Hughes are also popular option with fans but are installed by Sky Bet at 8/1 and 9/2 respectively.

The new-found reputation of Leicester City as a big-spending club, along with the well-known ambition of their Thai owners, sees the Foxes linked with big name managers like never before. The likes of Slavan Bilic (20/1), Carlo Ancelotti (25/1) and Marcelo Lippi (25/1) are big names for a club whose recent managers have included the likes of Martin Allen and Rob Kelly.

Certainly names such as Ancelotti or Lippi bring a similar respect and awe that Eriksson supposedly offered, but O'Neill, Davies or Huddersfield's Lee Clark (9/2) have a certain credibility within the Football League. With fickle Foxes' fans seeking nothing short of promotion in a third frustrating season back in the second tier, the steady hand of O'Neill could be just the ticket - if he would accept the job.

All odds from Sky Bet. Odds correct at time of publication.
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