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We’ll fight to keep Worthy from Norwich, insist IFA

Irish Football Association President Raymond Kennedy today insisted they will do all they can to keep Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland manager, following speculation that the Ballymena man is a target for his old club Norwich City.

The struggling Canaries sacked Glenn Roeder yesterday and today Worthington was linked to the vacant post at Carrow Road.

Former Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd is also in the running with Iain Dowie and Lawrie Sanchez considered outsiders.

It is possible that Norwich would want Worthington, who was in charge of the Canaries for six years before being sacked in 2006, as a short-term solution in a bid to keep them in the Championship.

Indeed there are even suggestions that he could do the Northern Ireland job and the Norwich role together, although surely that would cause problems for both club and country.

And it would bring back bad memories for the fans.

Remember in the middle of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, the IFA allowed the then Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez to take temporary charge of Fulham, who were struggling to stay in the Premiership.

Weeks later Sanchez, after keeping Fulham up, was then offered the permanent job and he took it even though he was under contract to the IFA.

The association did not get much in theway of compensation and wrote a clause into Worthington’s deal, to receive funds if the same thing happened again.

Kennedy said this morning: “There has been no contact from Norwich City to date and I wouldn’t think Nigel will go, but anything can happen in football. Certainly we don’t want him to go and would do all we could to persuade him to stay.

“We don’t want another situation where a manager leaves mid-campaign which happened last time and had a detrimental impact on our chances. Unlike then though there is a compensation clause in Nigel’s contract which would help us.”

Kennedy admitted, though, that there is a get-out clause where Worthington is concerned. His contract with Northern Ireland is up at the end of the year. The package negotiated with the IFA for that deal was around £450,000 per year.

Kennedy added: “I think Nigel has done fairly well as our manager and has taken great interest in the overall structure of football in Northern Ireland which should help us in the future. We have been unfortunate with our World Cup results so far, but we are not out of the reckoning.”

Northern Ireland’s next qualifier is next month away to San Marino.

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