BRIAN KIDD and Steve Round head the list of contenders to become Everton’s new number two as Alan Irvine was today preparing to begin life as Preston manager.
After five-and-a-half years as David Moyes’ assistant, Irvine is expected to quit Goodison Park and will then be formally announced as the new man in charge at Deepdale, succeeding Paul Simpson.
A popular figure among the players, Irvine had played an important role alongside Moyes during his second spell on Merseyside – he had previously enjoyed a successful stint at the club as a player – and his loss will be keenly felt.
However, moves are already under way to ensure a successor will be quickly appointed, as Everton will begin another hectic run of fixtures following the latest international break – and Kidd and Round have been identified as the top targets.
Kidd – who had a spell at Goodison Park during his successful playing career in 1979 – is currently working with Bryan Robson at Sheffield United and the Blades would not encourage any approach for his services.
But a possible return to Merseyside could be too strong a lure for Kidd, who was responsible for helping develop players such as Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Everton captain Phil Neville during his time with Manchester United.
The 58-year-old is vastly experienced and has been a manager in his own right at Preston and Blackburn Rovers. He has returned to work in fine health after having surgery for prostate cancer in 2004.
Round, meanwhile, might be lesser known but has a good reputation within the game and is currently working with Sam Allardyce at Newcastle.
He started his coaching career alongside Jim Smith at Derby after a knee injury forced his premature retirement before moving to Middlesbrough with Steve McClaren in 2001. Round followed him on to the England staff.
The vast majority of Everton’s squad returned to training today as preparations started for their next Premier League fixture against Sunderland this weekend, including Victor Anichebe, who missed Nigeria’s friendly with Australia last Saturday.
Super Eagles head coach Berti Vogts had expressed his surprise that Anichebe pulled out of that squad but the young striker, who has been playing with a broken bone in his hand, was eager to clear the situation up.
“Having felt a reaction in my hand after playing against Nuremberg and Chelsea it was clear to me and the medical team at Everton that I need to give it some time otherwise there was the potential for some long term damage,” he said.
“The break for the international matches presented me with that opportunity and having talked it through I decided it would better long term if I did not make myself available for the match against Australia.”