McCarthy is Appy’s main rival for Clarets job

Pompey boss Michael Appleton

Pompey boss Michael Appleton

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MICK McCARTHY has emerged as the leading contender for the Burnley manager’s job.

But sources in the north west claim the Clarets are still considering Michael Appleton to be their new boss.

McCarthy has already held talks with Burnley, who are without a manager since the departure of Eddie Howe.

Howe returned to Bournemouth this weekend to kick-start the football managerial merry-go-round.

Burnley want a quick resolution and McCarthy has been in ‘informal talks’.

The 53-year-old has been out of work since being sacked by Wolves in February.

It is believed former Sunderland and Republic of Ireland boss McCarthy is interested but he has also had discussions with Championship rivals Bolton.

Inevitably, Appleton has also been linked with both jobs.

The Pompey manager’s stock is high within the game as he continues to battle away at Fratton Park.

Many in football have been impressed with how he has conducted himself during continually-bleak times for the Blues.

Meanwhile, on the field of play, he has steered his side to 12th spot in League One.

Saturday’s victory over Crewe represented 10 points from a possible 12 during the past four league matches.

The only blip during that run was the embarrassing Johnstone’s Paint Trophy elimination to Wycombe.

Appleton has insisted he is settled on the south coast – his home since November 2011.

He also remains popular with most Blues fans.

However, he continues to be hamstrung by Pompey’s off-the-field woes.

The club remain in administration, without an owner and operating with a squad of 20 players.

Others also linked with the Burnley position are David Unsworth and Owen Coyle.