Abbotstown chiefs are expected to step up talks with a preferred candidate in the coming week with a view to an appointment.

Bell left his job in June to become assistant manager to Huddersfield Town boss Jan Siewert. That move backfired as Siewert was shown the door just three matches into the new Championship season.

Bell’s exit did prompt some concern that the team would regress after taking huge steps forward under his tutelage and mounting a respectable attempt to reach the World Cup.

He claimed that he would have stayed if the FAI had met some demands related to resources.

Senior player Megan Campbell came out strongly in the aftermath to say that the FAI should look abroad again to ensure that high standards are maintained.

Her comments raised eyebrows as there was some dressing-room support and internal backing for the idea of promoting U-19 supremo Dave Connell.

However, the FAI’s search for a new boss has brought them into the European market.

German Maren Meinert was identified as a leading candidate at the applications phase but she dropped out of the race after initial discussions. Former England boss Hope Powell was also in the frame at that juncture.

But the FAI are now focused on another European-based option.

Ireland start off their Euros campaign against Montenegro on September 3 with caretaker Tom O’Connor likely to be in the dugout for that fixture regardless of how things play out over the next week.

The FAI will have a good news announcement to make in the coming weeks after Nissan agreed to become their new sponsor – replacing Ford as the vehicle partner of the Association.

Nissan will pay a figure in the region of €500,000 per year across a four-year term. The arrangement will help to provide transport to the FAI’s regional development officers.

Sponsorship has been a concern for the FAI off the back of a turbulent period of negative publicity dating back to the emergence of John Delaney’s bridging loan to his employer in 2017. The FAI are in negotiations with a number of prospective partners with a series of deals up for renewal around 2020.

They have tried to make progress in the shadow of a series of ongoing reviews of the Association’s financial affairs.

Meanwhile, the League of Ireland community is in mourning following the death of popular Cabinteely kitman Michael ‘Locker’ Davis.

Davis was a well-known figure within the game and had a long connection with Cabinteely boss Pat Devlin. He passed away yesterday morning, three days ahead of a testimonial that is being staged in his honour at Stradbrook this Sunday.

Irish Independent