Richard O'Kelly set to take job as assistant coach at Bristol City
Bristol City are today set to name Richard O'Kelly as their new assistant coach.
Appointed as successor to the sacked Derek McInnes nine days ago, head coach Sean O'Driscoll has made no secret of his desire to recruit a right-hand man sooner rather than later.
O'Kelly, 56, is the man he wants to help him keep the Robins in the Championship this season.
City approached Walsall, where the former Hereford boss is currently working, on Monday night to ask permission to speak with O'Kelly, who expressed an interest in joining the Championship's basement club.
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His contract at the Banks's Stadium expires in June and the two clubs were last night thrashing out a compensation package. If agreement can be reached, O'Kelly will almost certainly be in place ahead of Saturday's clash with Ipswich at Ashton Gate.
It means O'Driscoll has won the right to have his own way when it comes to appointing those members of staff who will work most closely with him.
When he arrived at Ashton Gate last week, the 55-year-old revealed City's board of directors, eager to adopt a more hands-on approach to recruitment, had themselves drawn up a shortlist of candidates.
O'Driscoll said then he would consider all suggestions, but that he also had his own people in mind.
O'Kelly is O'Driscoll's assistant of choice. The pair worked successfully at Bournemouth and Doncaster, guiding the latter to a League One play-off final triumph over Leeds in 2008 and promotion to the Championship.
Walsall manager Dean Smith does not want to lose his number two, but O'Kelly is prepared to leave the League One club in a bid to better himself.
A source in the West Midlands told Daily Press: "Richard has a straightforward choice. Does he continue to work on a project begun eight months ago at the Banks's Stadium or take the chance to move up a division and work with Sean O'Driscoll again? Walsall do not want to lose him, but the feeling up here is that things will now move quickly and a deal could be done for Richard to go to Bristol City in the next 24 to 48 hours."
O'Kelly is based in Sutton Coldfield and is prepared to commute to Bristol.
Steve Simonsen has had his contract with Preston cancelled by mutual consent.
Goalkeeper Simonsen joined the Lilywhites just before the start of the season, having been released by Sheffield United during the summer.
The 33-year-old made his first appearance for the club in the Capital One Cup win over Crystal Palace at Deepdale and went on to make a total of 16 starts. His last appearance ended with him suffering a knee injury late on in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat at Coventry earlier this month.