Staunton keeps watch on Robson for Ireland's Dutch clash

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The Independent Online

The Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton will visit Sir Bobby Robson today to assess whether he will be fit to take up his duties against the Netherlands next week.

Ireland's international adviser complained of feeling unwell 10 minutes into the Championship game between Ipswich and Crystal Palace on Saturday. The 73-year-old had earlier been paraded at Portman Road after being named honourary club president.

After being taken to Ipswich Hospital, where he spent the next two nights after undergoing routine tests, the former England manager was released on Monday. However, it appears doubtful Robson will be on hand next Wednesday when Ireland face the Dutch in a friendly at Lansdowne Road.

"I've spoken to him, but he wasn't giving too much away, so I'm going to visit him tomorrow," Staunton said yesterday. "I know he is going to see a specialist today and again tomorrow, although it's too early to say whether he will be coming in for the game next week. From what I gather from his wife and secretary he is supposed to take things easy - but he can't!"

Robson missed out on Ireland's training camp in the Algarve in May after having a cancerous tumour removed from his lung. Although that was Robson's third cancer scare - having beaten the illness twice before, in 1992 and 1995 - he did take his place in the stands for the 1-0 friendly defeat to Chile that followed.

Robson, also a former manager at Newcastle, will at least be delighted to see four Magpies players in Staunton's 24-man squad to take on the Dutch.

The most prominent of those is Stephen Carr, who has ended his 10-month exile after retiring from international football last October following the Republic's failure to qualify for the World Cup finals.

The full-back has been tempted back by Staunton, who said: "Stephen has vast experience on the international scene and it's great to see him back."

Carr is joined by his fellow Newcastle stars, Shay Given and Damien Duff. Also included for the first time in Staunton's squad is the 21-year-old midfielder Alan O'Brien, who has made five substitute appearances for Newcastle this year.

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