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Robson lined up to assist Ireland

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Ex-England manager Sir Bobby Robson will link up with Steve Staunton, when Ireland's most capped player is named his country's new national team manager this week, according to an FA of Ireland source.

The source told Reuters news agency that the 72-year-old Robson would assist the former Liverpool and Aston Villa defender in an advisory capacity.

Staunton, who won 102 caps for Ireland, met with FAI officials in Manchester at the weekend but his appointment has been delayed.

The new management team will replace Brian Kerr, who was sacked last October after Ireland failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.

Ireland's absence from the finals means the new management team's first major goal will be to qualify for the 2008 European Championship in Switzerland and Austria.

Staunton, 36, played his last international at the 2002 World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan and is working as player-coach at English League One club Walsall.

His lack of management experience will be more than made up for by the 72-year-old Robson, whose managerial career started at Fulham the year before Staunton was born.

Robson coached England from 1982 until the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy and has managed Ipswich Town, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona and Newcastle United.

Staunton captained Ireland 16 times and played at the 1990, 1994 and 2002 World Cup finals.

Former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton said: "I think the partnership would be excellent.

"Robson has got the experience to teach Steve and his enthusiasm is second to none."

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