Football: McMenemy's quit promise

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The Independent Online
LAWRIE McMENEMY has said he will resign as the Northern Ireland manager if the fans turn against him. His contract is up for renewal at the end of Northern Ireland's European Championship qualifying campaign, and he claims he will not stay if the supporters do not want him.

McMenemy was criticised by some fans following disappointing draws against Moldova and Canada last season. He has since silenced some of his critics with a victory over the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and a narrow defeat against the world champions, France.

The Irish face Turkey today in their last home qualifier and, even though their hopes of reaching the finals have all but gone, McMenemy claims he has made progress during his 19-month reign. "The public and my players will be my judge," he said. "If we have not made progress, I will put up my hand and say the time is right for me to move on. I don't need hassle at this stage of my life. I believe, though, that we are making progress and my biggest achievement so far has been to appoint people of the quality of Joe Jordan, Pat Jennings and Chris Nicholl.

"They are experienced professionals of the highest standard and they have really helped the Northern Ireland senior and Under-21 squads."

Keith Gillespie is resigned to starting the match against Turkey at Windsor Park among the substitutes, with Jon McCarthy expected to retain his right- wing role. The Birmingham winger has seized his opportunity with some impressive performances when Gillespie was unavailable.

Turkey have injury worries: Hakan Sukur, Sergen Yalcin, Abdullah Ercan and Ogun Temizkanoglu have all been receiving treatment.

NORTHERN IRELAND (Probable): Taylor (Fulham); A Hughes (Newcastle), Rowland (QPR), Williams (Watford), Horlock (Manchester City), Lennon (Leicester), Lomas (West Ham), Kennedy (Watford), McCarthy (Birmingham), Dowie (QPR), M Hughes (Wimbledon).

TURKEY (Probable): Rustu Recber; Alpay Ozalan, Fatih Akyel, Ogun Temizkanoglu, Abdullah Ercan, Hakan Unsal, Tayfun Korkut, Sergen Yalcin, Okan Buruk, Ayhan Akman, Hakan Sukur.