Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

O'Neill can get first Northern Ireland win in next two matches, says Worthington

Nigel Worthington

Michael O'Neill has been told his first win as Northern Ireland manager could be just around the corner.

The upbeat message comes from his predecessor Nigel Worthington who this week took over the reins at League Two strugglers York City.

Former Shamrock Rovers boss O'Neill is still waiting for a victory after eight games in charge.

And later this month are difficult back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Israel.

However Worthington said: "Michael has two games coming up that are not easy.

"But knowing Northern Ireland these are the type of matches where they may get a win and get the monkey off his back.

"I am sure he is working very hard and it is just a matter of time before he gets that first victory.

"The Northern Ireland job is a fantastic job and I loved every minute of my time.

"But it is not an easy job because you have limited resources in terms of players.

"You have to make the most of what you have got.

"I was manager for four and a half years but you move on. It is Michael's turn now and I wish him nothing but the best.

"I hope things go well for him and obviously for the supporters. I am a supporter as well, of course, and always look out for their results."

Worthington takes charge of York for the first time tomorrow when they travel to AFC Wimbledon, who lie at the foot of the table.

The former Blackpool and Norwich boss replaced Gary Mills at Bootham Crescent following the home defeat by Bradford, which stretched the promoted side's run without a win to 11 games.

Worthington is relishing the challenge of making sure the club – who have approval for a new stadium – do not slip back down into non-league football.

"I had a couple of offers during the last 12 months but did not feel as though they were right," he said.

"I got a phone call last Sunday and I was at York on Monday morning sorting everything out. I am pleased to be back involved."

Last season York came up through the play-offs after winning the FA Trophy with Northern Ireland pair, goalkeeper Michael Ingham and Paddy McLaughlin, playing a part.

Worthington insists the players' confidence has not been damaged despite a dreadful run of results.

He said: "The players have been very bright and worked hard this week.

"The 10 games between now and the end of the season are all huge games."

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