Darren Murphy admits he has been flattered by speculation linking him with the Linfield managerial post – but says whoever follows David Jeffrey faces a “massive challenge”.
Murphy is just one of a raft of names being linked with the Windsor Park hot-seat.
Blues chief Jeffrey announced last Saturday that he will stand down at the end of the season – bringing the curtain down on a stellar 17-year reign at the international stadium.
Linfield’s longest-serving manager has claimed 30 trophies during his time at the helm, with the possibility of two more before he steps aside.
Former midfielder Murphy played under Jeffrey during a successful four-year spell at Windsor.
He is well qualified to appreciate the tactical nous and managerial qualities of the 51-year-old.
Murphy also accepts whoever steps in to succeed Jeffrey faces a massive test of character.
“The word ‘legend’ gets bandied about far too often, but when the dust settles on this season I think people will realise just how impressive David’s record is,” Murphy said.
“To survive 17 years as manager of Linfield is astounding, and it speaks volumes of David’s success during his time there.
“People will accuse me of being pro-Linfield and pro-David Jeffrey because I played under him. But that’s not true.
“David might not get the credit he deserves at the minute, but when he is away from the local game, maybe people will step back and recognise his achievements.”
It was former Linfield boss Roy Coyle who threw Murphy’s name into the hat of possible successors to Jeffrey’s throne.
Coyle lifted 31 trophies during his time at the Windsor helm, and won 16 honours including three league titles and four Irish Cups during a five-and-a-half-year spell at Glentoran.
“It was Roy who mentioned my name, and for man of Roy’s standing in the local game, that is very flattering,” Murphy said.
“Roy is one of the managerial legends of the Irish League. He is up there with David, Ronnie McFall and Roy Walker.
“So for Roy to add my name to the list of potential candidates is flattering.
“It is nice when someone recognises the job you are doing at a club like Dungannon.
“I am enjoying my time at Stangmore, and I have another legend as my mentor at Stangmore Park in the form of Joe McAree.
“So I am happy to be able to continue to learn the game at Dungannon, and if people think I am doing a decent job, then that is nice to hear.
“I am sure the Linfield Management Committee will have an idea of who they want to succeed David. They will know what type of character is needed.
“It is a massive challenge for whoever gets the nod.”