Martin O’Neill

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VIDEO, PHOTOS: Unforgettable tributes to Leicester owner Srivaddhanaprabha

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Leicester City’s emotional fortnight continued Saturday, as the Foxes staged their first Premier League home match since the helicopter crash that killed five people including club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

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Former Leicester bosses Claudio Ranieri, Martin O’Neill and Nigel Pearson were in the crowd, as the King Power Stadium saluted the Foxes’ fallen boss with a video tribute, music, flowers, and a minute’s silence.

Adding a second minute’s silence for Remembrance Day, the absence of noise combined with the crowd’s raising of white “Forever In Our Hearts” scarves perfectly served the occasion.

Fans on a memorial walk for those who lost their lives in the Leicester City helicopter crash (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
(Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Report: Stoke to meet with O’Neill over managerial vacancy

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Stoke City will meet will Ireland manager Martin O’Neill on Thursday to discuss the Premier League club’s managerial vacancy after firing Mark Hughes on Saturday, according to a report from the Independent.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Tuesday | Monday ]

O’Neill, who’s under contract to manage the Boys in Green through the summer, appears to be the Potter’s first fallback option after Gary Rowett passed on the position with Derby County in hot pursuit of promotion from the Championship (the Rams currently sit second, after 26 of 46 rounds).

The Stoke board’s aim is to have the new manager appointed and in charge for Monday’s trip to Old Trafford, where they’ll face second-place Manchester United (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Man City lead League Cup semi no. 1 | Arsenal, Chelsea level ]

O’Neill hasn’t managed a club team since 2013, when he was sacked by relegation-threatened Sunderland in late March. Under his leadership, Ireland qualified for EURO 2016 and reached the round of 16, before losing out to Denmark in the qualification playoff for the 2018 World Cup.

No word, as of yet, whether or not Roy Keane, O’Neill’s trusty and combustible assistant manager, would join him if a move to the bet365 Stadium were to materialize.

O’Neill upbeat as Ireland faces Wales in World Cup qualifier

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DUBLIN (AP) Ireland manager Martin O’Neill is upbeat over his team’s chances of beating Wales in their must-win soccer World Cup qualifier in Cardiff on Monday.

“It’s there for us, let’s go for it,” O’Neill told Irish broadcaster RTE after their 2-0 win over Moldova on Friday.

[ MORE: USMNT thrashes Panama in crucial World Cup qualifier ]

Two goals from Daryl Murphy gave Ireland victory, while Tom Lawrence‘s strike was enough for Wales to win 1-0 at Georgia and keep both sides in contention to reach Russia.

Top spot in Group D and automatic World Cup qualification is still up for grabs too after leaders Serbia slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Austria. Serbia can secure a spot in Russia with a home win over Georgia on Monday.

Wales is second, a point behind Serbia, with the Irish another point further back.

The group winner qualifies automatically for the finals in Russia. The best eight second-place finishers from the nine groups in Europe advance to the playoffs.

“It’s great. We know what we have to do, we have to win a game. We have to win a game in Cardiff and the chances are there for us,” O’Neill said.

Ireland hasn’t qualified for a World Cup since 2002. Wales’ last appearance was in 1958, when it reached the quarterfinals. Chris Coleman’s Welsh team reached the semifinals at Euro 2016, inspired by Gareth Bale.

[ MORE: Twitter reacted to Pulisic’s hot start on Friday night ]

Bale missed Friday’s win over Georgia and is also out of the showdown with Ireland after he picked up a calf injury playing for Real Madrid.

There is better news for Ireland, with James McClean and Robbie Brady available after they both served one-match suspensions. Team captain Seamus Coleman and striker Jon Walters miss out due to injury.

Everton loses Coleman to leg break on Ireland duty

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A horror tackle from Wales’ Neil Taylor snapped Seamus Coleman‘s leg in gruesome fashion on Friday.

Taylor was given a red card, and Coleman was stretched off the pitch in the 0-0 draw.

[ MORE: UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap ]

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill confirmed what was apparent from the match replay: the Everton man has a broken ankle.

“It’s a bad break. He’s a fantastic player and character. It’s a major blow for the lad, his club and us.

“Apparently it wasn’t the best challenge in the world – I haven’t seen it. He’s gone to hospital. I saw his reaction immediately and it didn’t look good. He was holding is leg up and it didn’t look good.

This is not only awful for the player, but causes stress as Everton mounts its assault on the Top Six. The right back has also manned right mid for Ronald Koeman this season, and has four goals and four assists in 26 Premier League matches.

Mason Holgate, Muhamed Besic, and Phil Jagielka have played some right back for Everton, while Ramiro Funes Mori has deputized at left back.

Everton’s Koeman enraged with Ireland: “You’re killing the player”

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Everton manager Ronald Koeman is steaming at Ireland’s treatment of James McCarthy.

The midfielder had missed weeks after undergoing groin surgery, and had yet to return to game action when he left Goodison Park for Ireland duty.

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Koeman is furious after Martin O’Neill trotted McCarthy out for 90 minutes against Georgia and then ran him out for another 81 against Moldova. Everton’s medical staff says the midfielder was “massively overloaded”.

So it’s fair to expect we won’t see much of McCarthy against Manchester City on Saturday.

From The Guardian:

“You hope something like this would be solved by the understanding of the doctor of the Ireland team or the manager of the Ireland team. They asked him if he was ready to play. It is very difficult for a player to say no because he is in Ireland. I like to have a lot of international players because it is a very good experience for every player. But sometimes, in several cases in fact, you like to have a little bit more understanding for a player who has been out injured for five to six weeks. Play him for 45 minutes, 60 minutes, but not 95 minutes after five to six weeks out, the second time 80 minutes! You are killing the player.”

Ireland beat Georgia 1-0 and was deadlocked with Moldova until the 69th minute before pulling out a 3-1 win, and the Irish needed both results badly for any hope of making the World Cup.

But Koeman has a point. There’s no duty to the club for the national team, but a club may not even use a player for 171 minutes in two quick games following a return to surgery.

Usually, managerial gripes off an international break are sour grapes, but there’s something here from Koeman.