Coleraine have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of a new manager after they were refused permission to speak to Ruaidhri Higgins.
The Bannsiders had identified Higgins, who is Assistant Head Coach at Oriel Park, as the man they wanted to replace Rodney McAree, despite the Limavady man not being one of the 30 applicants who have expressed an interest in the vacant position.
Coleraine confirmed on Friday the League of Ireland leaders had turned down their approach for Higgins, who spent two seasons as a player at The Showgrounds.
The Bannsiders said the remaining backroom staff members would continue preparations for the new season whilst alternative options were being considered.
A club spokesperson said: "Coleraine FC received over 30 expression of interests in relation to the present managerial vacancy, the Chairman and Board have considered these in depth.
"We have conducted a number of interviews with potential managers and identified an individual, although he had not expressed an interest, whom we believed was the person to fill the position.
"During the last fortnight we were in discussion with Dundalk FC seeking permission to speak with Ruaidhri Higgins but this was refused.
"As a result we were unable to pursue this any further and, like ourselves we believe Dundalk clearly see his potential. We wish him and Dundalk FC every success.
"As a result we have asked our present back room staff to continue with the preparations for the new season as we actively consider a number of others for the position."
A return for former boss Oran Kearney remarkably could still be an option after reports surfaced in Scotland he was sensationally set to leave St Mirren.
The Scottish Sun reported on Friday morning that Kearney MAY leave the Scottish Premiership side after a a meeting with chairman Gordon Scott and his board.
Oran Kearney's future at St Mirren in doubt claims report