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McCarthy in talks at Burnley

WHILE his name is strongly linked with an imminent job vacancy with the FAI, Mick McCarthy has this week held talks with Burnley about the possibility of taking over at the Championship club.

The Clarets are looking for a new boss after their former manager Eddie Howe moved back to his previous club, Bournemouth, for family reasons, and McCarthy is among the contenders.

Former Burnley boss Owen Coyle, who is also a free agent and is also being linked with the Ireland job should Giovanni Trapattoni exit that post this week, has been mentioned in relation to Burnley but many Clarets fans have yet to forgive Coyle for the manner of his departure when he quit Turf Moor to took over at Bolton two years ago.

North hope to stop Ron

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as a "goal machine" ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifier against Portugal, then told his players they must find a way to stop him.

When Ronaldo steps out at the Dragao Stadium he will, at the age of only 27, become only the third Portuguese player to win 100 caps after Luis Figo and Fernando Couto.

After an unstoppable start to the season with Real Madrid, few would bet against him marking the occasion with a goal, or more, but O'Neill has been preparing his side for a week to play the role of spoilsports in Porto. "We have to recognise the quality of the opposition but we are not sitting here just hoping for Ronaldo to have an off night, we have trained to this level in preparation," O'Neill said.

"It is our job to make sure they do have an off night and we can add to them having a frustrating night by taking our opportunity when it presents itself. We know what we are facing here. I think what Ronaldo has is he is a goal machine as well as creative, I have seen him numerous times, we know where the threat will come from.

"I would be happy if he has a really poor game and he is remembered for having a bad night on his 100th cap."