Bohs have conducted a second round of interviews this week and the Ireland legend is in the frame along with former AIK Stockholm assistant Sean O’Shea and Wexford boss Ian Ryan also understood to be strong contenders for a post that has attracted considerable interest.
Dunne was asked about the story on Virgin Media’s UEFA Nations League coverage and was coy when answering on the Bohs link before outlining his broader ambitions.
“There’s not a lot to tell, it’s speculation, it’s not the worst story I’ve heard about myself, it’s one of those things, it happens, ex internationals get linked with stuff from time to time,” said Dunne, with a grin.
“For the last six or seven years I’ve been coaching (youth level) in France and England, I’ve done my coaching badges. I’ve just finished my Pro licence so it’s time to try and test myself at a higher level. If something does come up I’d be interested in it.”
When asked to elaborate on what would attract him, the 43-year-old said: “Something that’s a challenge, a good project, a team that wants to be progressive and move forward, something like that that you can affect and make a difference in…it’s something that would appeal to me.”
Dunne completed his Pro Licence via the IFA in Belfast earlier this year.
However, there is strong competition for the Bohs role and O’Shea, an experienced coach born in Huddersfield to Irish parents, is now viewed as a serious candidate.
O’Shea turns 40 this year but quit playing at 21 to concentrate on his coaching education, working in Dubai for a number of years before spending time with Tromso in Norway, the academy at Huddersfield and then another stint in Dubai running training camps before he relocated to AIK Stockholm where he worked as an assistant coach at first-team level.
He left there at the end of last year and has been working in Dubai again subsequently.
O’Shea has been doing his Pro Licence through the FAI and, while he lacks experience at League of Ireland level, he’s understood to be looking at putting together a backroom team with some Bohs experience.
Ryan, who was linked with the Waterford job earlier this year, is viewed as one to watch in LOI circles. He is on the same Pro Licence course as O’Shea. Ryan (35) has won respect within the game for his work with Wexford where ex-Bohs left full Lorcan Fitzgerald is his assistant.
Caretaker boss Derek Pender has support within the club, but his absence of coaching qualifications is an obvious stumbling block. It’s possible he will remain on the first team staff for the purpose of continuity even if he misses out on the job – although that would depend on the final decision.
Former Dundalk boss Vinny Perth is amongst the long list of names to have applied. Stephen Kenny’s one-time number two also has a strong relationship with Dunne.
The Irish Independent reported last month that U-21 boss Jim Crawford was on the Bohs radar with no movement on his contract, but the expectation is that he will stay in his current role.