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Nigel taking on the world

By Graham Luney

Nigel Worthington has agreed to prolong his stay as Northern Ireland manager - but there may not be an announcement until next week.

Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy said yesterday that Worthington would be putting pen to paper on a new two-year contract.

It's been a long 'will he, won't he' saga for all concerned but the former Norwich City chief will lead Northern Ireland into the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

A meeting to discuss the fixture schedule for the qualifying series is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and the Irish FA are understandably keen to close the deal before then.

It is rumoured that Worthington will become the highest paid manager in Northern Ireland's history - perhaps pocketing up to £300,000 a year - but IFA chief executive Howard Wells said last night: "We will not be discussing anyone's wages - that goes for anyone employed by the IFA."

He added: "There will be no announcement today (Friday) - in fact things may not be sorted out until next week."

But Kennedy said: "Yes we have reached an agreement with Nigel Worthington in principle and he will sign a new two year contract with the IFA.

"He is the man to take charge of Northern Ireland for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and we believe we can qualify for the next World Cup.

"We have made significant progress and I would be disappointed if we didn't qualify for the World Cup."

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