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Mick McCarthy enters talks with Burnley
BURNLEY have spoken to former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy over the vacant manager’s position at Turf Moor, the Lancashire Telegraph understands.
The 53-year-old has been out of work since being sacked by Wolves in February as the Midlands side battled against relegation from the Premier League, ultimately unsuccessfully.
It is believed former Sunderland and Republic of Ireland boss McCarthy was interested in what the Clarets had to say, but has also had discussions with Championship rivals Bolton Wanderers, who sacked former Burnley boss Owen Coyle last Tuesday.
The Clarets board are thought to have met yesterday to work through a long list of applicants vying to be Eddie Howe’s successor, after family reasons led to the 34-year-old returning to take charge of League One Bournemouth.
It is understood Burnley chiefs were keen to whittle down the dozens who had indicated their interest in the Turf Moor hotseat down to a shortlist of two or three.
Portsmouth boss Michael App-leton and Barnsley manager Keith Hill were thought to be in the running, but McCarthy last night emerged as the leading contender after what was described as an ‘informal chat’ with the club.
Ex-Claret Graham Alexander’s chances cannot be ruled out either.
David Unsworth could also prove to be a rival for the role, with the Clarets said to be keen to hold discussions with the former defender. The 38-year-old could be considered a surprise option for the post, given that it would be his first in management. But he has connections with the club having spent a season at Turf Moor towards the end of a career which was spent largely at Everton, where he played under Joe Royle, Walter Smith and David Moyes, among others.
Equally, Alexander would be new to senior management, having recently taken over as head of youth at Preston North End after calling time on a lengthy playing career.
The 41-year-old's name is etched in Clarets folklore after making his 1000th career appearance at Turf Moor.
Those links could be important in the search for the club's fifth boss in five years.
One criteria that the board are believed to have set is that their next appointment is someone who can identify with the area.
They will consider candidates both in and out of work.
“The board has a vision of how they want the club to go forward and the philosophy,” said chief executive Lee Hoos.
“We have a progressive infrastructure. We have to maintain philosophy and infrastructure.
“Swansea have done that really well.”
Asked if that approach would narrow the search, Hoos added: “It makes it more focused.
“We know the criteria we want and the type of manager we want.
“It has got to be a progressive manager, someone who embraces sports science and uses technology to their advantage. Someone hungry.”
After a succession of young managers, Hoos said: “Age is not important. It's all about values and attitude.”
While the club have said they are in no rush to make an appointment, I understand the new manager could be in place in time for the visit of Blackpool on Saturday.
“This is a long-term appointment, we have to make sure we get the right person for the job,” said Hoos.
“Any sensible club would do the same. There's no time frame, but potentially it could be a quick appointment.
“We have a list of people we are planning to approach and not wait for them to contact us.
“We know what we want.”
Meanwhile, I understand there has been a verbal agreement between Howe and Burnley that their former boss will not come back to cherry-pick players until the summer.
Marvin Bartley could be the only exception. The Cherries were in the process of plotting a loan move for the midfielder three weeks ago while Paul Groves was still in charge.