APOEL FC hire Mick McCarthy as head coach

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Former Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy on Monday signed for Cypriot top-flight team APOEL FC as head coach in a surprise return to football.

Nicosia’s APOEL FC announced on Monday the “beginning of its cooperation with coach Mick McCarthy” after he signed a 19-month contract until May 2022.

His assistant is Terry Connor, who was with him at Wolves, Ipswich and the Ireland national team.

And one of Cyprus’  biggest clubs suggested it was expecting results on the pitch straight away.

“We welcome them both to APOEL and we hope they can immediately help the team return to good and effective performances to compete for its goals until the end, which is winning titles,” said a club statement on its official website.

It added: “Mr McCarthy is a coach with vast experience in the English Premier League with over 600 appearances in the Premier League and the Championship.”

The 62-year-old former Ireland international has won promotion to the Premier League with Sunderland and Wolves as manager.

As a national coach, he led Ireland to qualify for the 2002 World Cup with the team advancing from their group only to be eliminated by Spain in a penalty shootout.

McCarthy has been out of a job since leaving his role with the Republic of Ireland in April this year and has not worked at club level since being sacked by Ipswich Town in 2018.

APOEL have won the Cypriot title a record 28 times but have made a poor start to the 2020-21 season, winning just two of their first six league games.

The club finished third in the table last season, earning a Europa League spot, but were knocked out at the final play-off stage by Czech Republic’s Slovan Liberec.

A run of four games without a win proved the end for Greek coach Marinos Ouzounidis, who was the club’s 12th permanent coach since 2015.

The club that recently won seven league titles in a row is now languishing in 10th place from 14 teams with only nine point after eight games.

APOEL also reached the last eight of the Champions League in 2011-12 going out to Real Madrid.

McCarthy began his managerial career at Millwall before his first spell as Republic of Ireland boss between 1996 and 2002.

He then achieved promotion to the Premier League at both Sunderland and Wolves, staying at Molineux for over five and a half years before being dismissed in 2012.