By Ronan Murphy Follow on Twitter
Football Manager's head of research in Ireland believes that the level of accuracy in the latest database of the management simulation game makes it an ideal scouting tool for clubs.
Released on November 13, Football Manager 2016 features over 50 playable leagues from around the world, with meticiulously researched data on thousands of footballers from every country.
Ireland head researcher Mark Hill feels that this is what makes the game so useful, particularly for managers and scouts searching for new talent.
"I believe it is being used by certain clubs as a scouting tool," Hill told Goal . "The fact that the Football Manager database is linked with ProZone helps. It keeps me on my toes because now it's a recognised scouting system.
"I need to be on the ball and I need my team to be on the ball in terms of having our data as accurate as possible. I think League of Ireland clubs could use our database to find out about opposition clubs and players in their region."
Hill has been involved with Sports Interactive researching Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for 12 years, and has watched the database - and game - grow significantly during that time.
"The research takes an awful lot longer than it used to," Hill admitted. "The level of depth now is significant, but the game resources have improved vastly too.
"The likes of social media development and websites mean the League of Ireland resources are at an all time high. In terms of the game, there are new features, the development of the match engine, are growing all the time."
However accurate Hill and his Irish team of 20 volunteers make the stats, there will be always players getting in touch to tell him they have been rated harshly. "We get contacted all the time. You'll never find a player saying that something should be lowered," he joked.
"They always want to highlight the things they're better at. I think this year, I'm looking forward to the general release of the game, because I think a lot of extra time and effort has gone into getting attributes really assessed and assigned for every player who has played in the League of Ireland this year.
"So I'm keen to see what the public thinks. We, as a research team, feel we got it pretty on the money. However, you'll always see one or two who'll want some extra points on their profile."Football Manager 2016 is available from November 13.