Michael O'Neill seeking new four-year Northern Ireland deal

Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill could be the first manager to take Northern Ireland to a European Championship

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill says he would like a new four-year contract, rather than the two years the Irish FA appears to be offering him.

NI need two points from their last two qualifiers - at home to Greece and away to Finland - to reach Euro 2016.

IFA president Jim Shaw said: "We tend to go on two-year cycles because that matches the tournaments."

O'Neill said: "If I am the right person for the job I would like something of a longer-term nature."

The 46-year-old, who has been in charge since December 2011, added: "I would probably be looking for a four-year situation which would take the team to the next European campaign.

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Michael O'Neill wants a long-term deal

"My priority at the minute is qualifying for the European finals and then it will be a case of assessing the situation.

"I have been almost four years in the job and the association may feel it is time for someone else at that point."

His side host the Greeks in Belfast on Thursday, 8 October and complete their Group F campaign in Helsinki three days later as they bid to reach next summer's finals in France.

Earlier, Shaw said IFA officials planned to negotiate fresh terms with the international team manager.

Michael O'Neill factfile
Born 5 July 1969
Began career with Coleraine in Irish League, before joining Newcastle United
Played as a midfielder and forward during a 20-year playing career
Among the clubs he played for were Dundee United, Hibernian, Coventry City, Wigan Athletic and St Johnstone
Made 31 appearances for Northern Ireland, scoring four goals
Was in charge of Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers, before being appointed Northern Ireland boss in December 2011

After confirming the IFA's preference was for a two-year contract extension, Shaw added: "If that suits both parties, I am happy with that. But it does not mean there is no commitment to hanging on to our manager.

"We do not want to lose him at any stage and we will be dealing with Michael in the near future."

Shaw admitted he was apprehensive, with Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 fate about to be decided.

"I would like us to qualify on Thursday, but we have key players missing," he said.

"If we do not, then we go to the second stage which is in Finland.

"If we get to France it would be absolutely superb for the future. I believe if we do qualify, we could go a stage further because we have a history of that."

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