Worthington still holding Northern Ireland reins

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The Independent Football

Nigel Worthington has begun plotting a route to South Africa after being confirmed as Northern Ireland's manager for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The former Norwich manager must negotiate a group containing Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia and San Marino if he is to end a 24-year wait to make it to a major finals.

And after witnessing his team gain momentum impressively in his six games in temporary charge, as they only narrowly failed to reach Euro 2008, Worthington is confident.

"We've got good players at the moment," he said. "There's a nice blend of experience and young players in the team, there's a good spirit, and that's the way I like to manage."