By John Fallon
Dundalk boss Vinny Perth has hit out at the FAI over the manner of their approach for his assistant Ruaidhri Higgins.
Limavady native Higgins was recruited by Dundalk as opposition analyst when they were managed by Stephen Kenny, who now wants him to join his backroom team.
The FAI have made contact with Dundalk about headhunting Higgins for the Kenny era which is taking shape despite no international matches expected until September.
Dundalk will seek compensation from the cash-strapped FAI before agreeing to release Higgins from his contract.
“It’s disappointing that a member of staff that I rate so highly has been approached to move elsewhere,” Kenny’s successor Perth told DundalkFC.com about his assistant for the past 16 months.
“The manner in which the approach was conducted is something that I’m not happy about and I will leave that with our board of directors and the FAI to deal with.
“I feel very strongly about protecting our staff and players and the board have been exceptional with this since I took over.
“We have people under contract and those contracts need to be honoured and respected.
“We fully understand that this is a wonderful opportunity for Ruaidhri. I have always said that to win a league title you need league winning staff and I have definitely had that. He has played a key part in our success.
“My job now is to protect Dundalk FC and I have time on my side to make whatever decisions need to be made over the next couple of weeks.”
Kenny was elevated from his post as U21 boss last Saturday week after the coronavirus outbreak scuppered the timing of the planned handover with senior boss Mick McCarthy.
Keith Andrews joins Kenny from his U21s as assistant while Damien Duff is due onboard as coach in August.
Alan Kelly remains as goalkeeping coach while Damien Doyle is in line to step in as fitness coach.
The precise full-time role of Higgins has yet to be confirmed but his track record as Kenny’s scout during their European success will be tapped into again.