Billy McKinlay and Tommy Wright join Northern Ireland set-up

Fulham manager Martin Jol with coach Billy McKinlay
Fulham manager Martin Jol with coach Billy McKinlay

Fulham first team coach Billy McKinlay has been named as Northern Ireland's new assistant manager with Tommy Wright taking the role of goalkeeping coach.

McKinlay will continue his role at Craven Cottage, but will link up with new Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill during international breaks.

"I have known Michael since our days at Dundee United together and it will be great to work with him," said McKinlay.

Wright is assistant to Stephen Lomas at Scottish Premier club St Johnstone.

During his playing career, goalkeeper Wright played for Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Bolton Wanderers and won 31 international caps.

He has been goalkeeping coach at Norwich City, and at Shamrock Rovers alongside O'Neill. Wright also managed Limavady United, Ballymena United and Lisburn Distillery in the Irish League.

"Having represented my country as a player I am proud to become the goalkeeping coach of the senior squad," said Wright.

"Everyone knows that I am passionate about Northern Ireland and I am thrilled to be working alongside Michael O'Neill again. He is a fantastic young manager and I am sure he can inspire the players ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in September."

O'Neill is resigned to being without top players Kyle Lafferty and Chris Brunt for Northern Ireland's friendly match against Norway on 29 February.

"We have a few injuries but it gives us a chance to evaluate other players," said the new NI boss.

"Players like Dean Shiels and Michael Duff could still have international futures, while I would never shut the door on the likes of Aaron Hughes and Stephen Craigan, who have indicated a desire to retire from international football.

"At the same time, you have to respect their decisions, but I would like to pick their brains at least, as they have a lot of experience."

Top Stories