Former Sligo Rovers boss named new Northern Ireland Under 21 manager

New Under 21 boss Ian Baraclough (left) is welcomed by Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.
New Under 21 boss Ian Baraclough (left) is welcomed by Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

Former Motherwell and Sligo Rovers manager Ian Baraclough has been appointed as the new manager of the Northern Ireland Under-21 men’s team.

The 46-year-old joins from Oldham Athletic where he was assistant to John Sheridan.

Baraclough, from Leicester, had a 20-year playing career which saw him represent among others Queen’s Park Rangers, Notts County and Scunthorpe United. He moved into management in 2010, taking up the reins at Scunthorpe United where he spent a season in League One.

In 2012, he was appointed manager of Sligo Rovers and quickly brought success to the west of Ireland club. He led Rovers to the league title in his first season at the club, their first in 35 years. He also lifted the FAI Cup and the Setanta Cup in his two-year spell in charge.

He worked as a scout for Huddersfield having left Sligo in 2014 before moving to Scotland to manage Motherwell. He kept the club in the SPL after a play-off win over Rangers but was replaced the following year.

Last summer he linked up with former Northern Ireland assistant manager Stephen Robinson at Oldham when he was appointed number two at Boundary Park. When Robinson left the club in December Baraclough stayed on under Sheridan and helped the club steer clear of relegation.

Ian Baraclough said: “I am delighted to have been appointed and I am looking forward to working with young players in Northern Ireland. I will be aiming to help the team be successful in qualifying and also to help develop future senior internationals.”

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill said: “We were looking for a candidate with good coaching and management experience and Ian certainly fits the bill given his previous roles as both a manager and assistant manager.

“He has a great knowledge of the game and a wide range of contacts and I think he will be a great addition to our international coaching team.”

Baraclough’s U21 side have been drawn with Albania, Estonia, Iceland, Slovakia and Spain in their 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying group. They begin their campaign against Estonia in Tallinn on 8 June.