Warren Feeney believes Grant McCann will enjoy a smooth transition into coaching – but not until he helps Linfield in their title quest this season.
McCann was recently being touted for the vacant managerial post at his former club Cheltenham Town.
Instead, caretaker boss Russell Milton and Steve Jones will now take the reins of the Robins to the end of the season.
Feeney insists he won’t stand in McCann’s way if the right job offer comes along, but he is confident the former Northern Ireland international will remain at Windsor Park to the end of the current Irish League campaign.
“Grant was a top player for Cheltenham and it was flattering for him to be linked with the job there,” Feeney said.
“He wants to go into coaching and I would never stand in anyone’s way, but he has a job to do here and I’m confident he’ll still be with us come the end of the season.
“I’m very pleased with Grant and the impact he has made here. Critics said he was only here to see out his career, but that’s not the case. He has been really composed on the pitch and ultra professional off it.”
Feeney and McCann’s focus is on Friday night’s crunch Danske Bank Premiership showdown with Portadown at Windsor (7.45pm).
The Blues sit just three points behind leaders Crusaders with nine games remaining.
They will hope to draw level with the Crues with victory tonight, against a side hampered with injuries and suspensions.
The Ports have strike duo Darren Murray and Gary Twigg suspended, while Mark McAllister is struggling with a hamstring injury.
“A win would draw us level on points with the Crues before they play Glenavon on the Saturday, so it’s a big incentive,” added Feeney.
“It’s important we kick on now. With only nine games left, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty and every game is crucial.”