Cape Town - Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has said he will not stand in the way of his assistant Roy Keane taking on a role at Aston Villa, but he wants the matter to be cleared up as soon as possible.
The former Manchester United skipper and manager at Sunderland and Ipswich, has been linked with a post as Paul Lambert's number two at Villa Park over the past week.
Keane had previously been strongly linked to the vacant manager's position at Celtic but decided against making that move.
O'Neill told the Irish Independent he believed Keane could combine his role with the national team with new duties at Villa but does not want the matter dragging into next season.
"I want to be careful about jumping the gun because we had him signed, sealed and delivered to Celtic and that did not materialise," O'Neill was quoted as saying.
"I don't really know if this is something that he is going to have a serious look at.
"But if he is then I will definitely speak (again) to Paul Lambert - and see if that kind of role can be combined.
"One thing I want to establish is what sort of in-depth conversations have gone on.
"I have spoken to Paul Lambert. Paul has spoken to Roy about the possibility of it happening.
"Nothing definitive has happened and I don't really know what sort of commitment (the Villa position) would entail.
"If he is actually a full-blooded assistant then that is something to consider.
"I don't mind it (speculation) going on for a week or two. Celtic wanted something in place as they have games coming up quite soon.
"And I assume Aston Villa will want to get something in place by the time they start pre-season.
"I don't want it to be continued right through until August time."