Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane
O'Neill and Keane are set to become Ireland's new management team.

Martin O'Neill is set to be confirmed as the new manager of the Republic of Ireland national team with Roy Keane expected to be named as his assistant.

An official announcement regarding a replacement for Giovanni Trapatoni, who resigned in September amid Ireland's failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, is expected this weekend.

"We can confirm that the management appointment process with Martin O'Neill & Roy Keane is at an advanced stage," a Football Association of Ireland statement read.

FAI chief-executive John Delaney added: "Detailed discussions with Martin and Roy are advanced. We hope to have things signed by Saturday.

"Irish football & our country is bigger than anything. Two icons of Irish football can work together with us. The past is in the past."

Both O'Neill, capped 64 times by Northern Ireland, and Keane - a former Irish captain - will make guest appearances on ITV's coverage of Manchester United's Champions League tie against Real Sociedad on Tuesday.

Former Sunderland and Aston Villa manager O'Neill, 61, has agreed to succeed Trapattoni following his departure in September after five and a half years in the job which ended after failure to take Ireland to next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

The national team finished fourth in Group C after consecutive defeats to Sweden, Austria and Germany killed off any hope of following their qualification for Euro 2012 with a fourth World Cup appearance.

The role represents O'Neill's first managerial test at international level while Keane, who won 67 caps with Ireland as a player, is set to return to the national set-up eleven years after he walked out on the country in the 2002 World Cup.

Steve Walford, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh are also expected to be named in the backroom team.

Ireland winger James McClean, who played under O'Neill at Sunderland before joining Wigan Athletic in the summer, wrote on Twitter:"obviously everyone has their own opinion, i think [a] player that was as good as roy keane to be in the ireland set up would be great [sic]."

O'Neill was first choice of the FAI despite widespread speculation that Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy was the frontrunner for a second spell as manager.

The 61 year old had preferred another club role after being sacked by Sunderland in March of this year and had been in discussions with Crystal Palace this month following Ian Holloway's departure.

Keane, who had failed managerial spells at Ipswich and Sunderland, was criticised by Ferguson in his recently released autobiography where he writes of his former captain: "He thought he was Peter Pan. Nobody is.

"His two spells in management proved one thing: he needs money. The hardest part of Roy's body is his tongue."

The ex-United midfielder responded: "I remember having conversations with [Ferguson] about loyalty. In my opinion he doesn't know the meaning of the word.

"To constantly criticise other players that brought him success, I won't be losing any sleep over it."

The dynamic between O'Neill and Keane, who possesses a fierily reputation within the game, will be of primary concern to Irish fans while John O'Shea, who captained Ireland against Germany last month was subject to criticism during the back-end of the midfielder's career at Old Trafford.

"He's just strolling around but he should be bursting a gut to get back," Keane said of O'Shea in an interview which saw Ferguson offload him to Celtic in the following transfer window.

The double act's first game in charge of the Irish national team will be against Latvia on November 15 in Dublin before the squad travels to Poznan four days later to take on Poland.