Keith Long has returned to management, taking over at Waterford FC just 48 hours on from the departure of Danny Searle.

Long spent eight largely successful years at Bohemians as he took the club from a low ebb to European qualification and an FAI Cup final appearance.

Ten defeats from 27 league games in 2022 led to the end of his spell at Dalymount Park, with Long saying he would be keen to return to management when the right offer came along.

The Blues have lost just once in their opening five First Division games, but trail Galway United, who have played a game more, by 10 points.

Waterford moved quickly for a change of manager last Monday after missing out via the play-offs last year.

Owner Andy Pilley said Long was the clear choice amid a flurry of activity in a short space of time.

Pilley said: "I'm delighted to welcome Keith to Waterford FC as the club’s new head coach.

"We had a number of very high profile applicants for the job, but Keith was the stand-out candidate and ticked every box for us.

"Keith is a hugely experienced and respected manager in the League of Ireland, and it speaks volumes about the reputation of Waterford FC that we’ve been able to attract someone like Keith to the role.

"I’m hugely excited for the future and am looking forward to being at the RSC for Keith’s first game on Friday night."

New boss Long spoke about his excitement regarding the deal.

"I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to work with Waterford FC," he said.

"It’s a great football club with great tradition and is a real footballing city.

"After meeting the owner and his senior staff, these are exciting times for a club, which has real ambition.

"I’m looking forward to getting started."

It remains to be seen if Long can recruit his former assistant manager Trevor Croly to the club.

He moved to the Bohs academy following the appointment of Declan Devine and was part of the backroom team for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s last weekend.

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