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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny defended Irish football after a 3-0 World Cup qualifier win in Luxembourg (John Walton/PA)

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny defended Irish football after a 3-0 World Cup qualifier win in Luxembourg (John Walton/PA)

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny defended Irish football after a 3-0 World Cup qualifier win in Luxembourg (John Walton/PA)

Stephen Kenny’s future as Ireland manager is on solid ground, with a board meeting later this month expected to confirm that a majority of top-table members want to award the Dubliner a contract extension before another ball is kicked.

The FAI top brass are scheduled to meet on November 29 for a review of the World Cup campaign that will include a report from chief executive Jonathan Hill.

Across the year, the indications have been that the board would decide at that juncture whether to stick with Kenny or look elsewhere.

Ireland’s assertive finish, with three wins and four clean sheets across October and November, has strengthened Kenny’s position and the broad view has formed that he will be the man to lead the team into the European Championships qualifiers which kick off in March 2023.

However, while the 50-year-old’s main backers – led by independent chair Roy Barrett – would favour doing a deal quickly to provide certainty about the road ahead, caution remains amongst some of the football-elected directors who remain happy to wait until closer to the expiration of his deal in July before sanctioning a new one.

Ireland will play two friendlies in March and four Nations League encounters in June. The input of Hill will be important, though, as he is expected to offer a commercial outlook looking ahead.

In that context, the strong Aviva Stadium turnouts across the autumn have been very helpful to the incumbent.

Match-going supporters have thrown their weight behind Kenny and Hill’s upbeat tweets from the stadium in Luxembourg were in keeping with the general mood. Senior figures within the organisation feel that from a business perspective, the right decision would be to remove any doubt about the manager’s standing.

They will question the view that sitting tight for now is the prudent course of action; the alternative perspective is that hedging would display an absence of leadership and confidence that would complicate the hunt for a sponsor amongst other initiatives, with the prospect of upheaval during the year an unattractive one.

It’s anticipated that the various sides will make their voices heard in the board meeting, but senior sources say that the momentum is moving towards instigating contract talks with Kenny before the year is out.

The united front from the dressing-room has not gone unnoticed as it has gone beyond the usual stock answers, with Séamus Coleman hailing the work on the training ground.

Super sub Jason Knight offered his endorsement in Luxembourg, but acknowledged he didn’t expect anyone in the FAI to be seeking his opinion given he’s a rookie.

“I want to see the manager in place. I think he has been great for me and great for all the lads as well,” he said.

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