Former Republic of Ireland international Graham Kavanagh is backing Martin O’Neill as the ideal candidate for the vacant manager's job.

The newly-appointed Carlisle United boss is confident that O’Neill can build a bond in the Irish camp to rival that created by former managers Mick McCarthy and Brian Kerr.

Speculation on Saturday revealed a number of candidates such as Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and Rene Meulensteen are being considered, but an Irish boss seems to be preferred by the FAI.

Kavanagh is adamant it should be the route the Association explore.

He told RTÉ Sport: “I have always thought with international football that it needs to be a home-grown person. It is the nature of international football that it is our country against somebody else's country.

“I don't buy into the fact that it is a foreign coach or manager leading our country with their beliefs and ways. I firmly believe it should be an Irishman without a shadow of a doubt.

“It is Ireland representing Ireland against the rest of the world. We are unique, we may not have the best players in the world but generally when we come together we have the fighting Irish spirit.

“I think someone who could harness that with the age he is at and the experience he has had would be Martin O'Neill. He is at the stage in the career where his experience would be invaluable. I think his man-management style will very much suit international football.

“You get players who are at the top of their game in terms of confidence and players at the bottom of the game who are struggling with their performances.

“All of a sudden you walk into an environment as we did with Mick McCarthy and Brian Kerr and you have people who want to be there.

“Even if you're injured you want to get yourself there. It is a real sort of team spirit and that is what we created. I very much think Martin could harness that and get behind everything that the Irish people stand for.

“I’m sure he would be extremely proud to have the opportunity to do it and I think he would be tactically very good as well.”

"I’m sure he would be extremely proud to have the opportunity to do it and I think he would be tactically very good as well" - Graham Kavanagh on Martin O'Neill

Kavanagh is now in charge of League 1 outfit Carlisle after initially taking the role on temporary basis following the dismissal of Greg Abott.

Carlisle have won their last three games under Kavanagh's stewardship prior to kick-off of today’s fixture away to Shrewsbury.

He praised the players’ work to reach 14th in the English third tier so far.

The former Sunderland man remarked: “When we first got the job we didn't look too far ahead. That is what we've learned very quickly.

“You are two or three wins away from being a good manager and two or three wins away from being a very poor manager and looking over your shoulder if you are going to get the sack. We just took it day by day.

“In terms of games all we have done is look to the next one. As I said to the players from day one, if we can change the mindset in the group that what you give us today will not be enough tomorrow, then you are constantly striving for more. We are constantly striving to push each other and ourselves.

“We have a great opportunity and a great chance to take this club forward. To their credit they have bought into it and got behind everything we have asked them to do.”