Czech defeat likely to end Staunton's brief reign

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The Independent Football

Steve Staunton appears certain to be sacked as the manager of the Republic of Ireland if they lose at home to the Czech Republic tonight. It would represent one of the briefest managerial careers in the history of international football with the 37-year-old having taken charge of just six matches.

Yesterday John Delaney, the chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, repeatedly refused to back Staunton following last weekend's 5-2 defeat by Cyprus. Staunton, who signed a four-year deal earlier this year, had claimed he had been assured he would remain in his post no matter the result tonight.

Delaney said: "Let's hope we get the performance. We don't comment on contracts unless we have something to say." Delaney added that he is worried Staunton may have lost the fans' backing, and their reaction tonight ­ especially if Ireland are losing ­ may determine his fate.