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By ESPN Staff

Healy issues Sanchez plea

David Healy has pleaded with Lawrie Sanchez to stay as Northern Ireland manager.

Speculation is growing in the province that the splendid 3-2 victory against Spain in a Euro 2008 qualifier will be Sanchez's last in charge.

Hat-trick hero Healy told BBC Radio: 'Stick with us Lawrie, hopefully we are going places.

'We are a good bunch of boys and are on the up.

'We were a bit of a shambles before.

'But we have improved in the rankings, scored a lot of goals and won big games.'

Irish Football Association president Jim Boyce did admit there is 'a problem' concerning the manager, although he did not elaborate on what that might be.

But Boyce added on BBC Online: 'I expect Lawrie to stay on as manager until the end of the European qualifiers.'

The IFA office bearers, led by Boyce, met last night to discuss Sanchez's no-show on Wednesday .

He is facing a fine by UEFA after declining requests for post-match interviews.

Chief executive Howard Wells earlier refused to clear up the mystery surrounding Sanchez's future.

Asked directly if Sanchez had discussed quitting his job with him, Wells said: 'What we discussed last night is that for personal reasons he would prefer not to do the post-match interviews.

'I respected that opinion. That is the basis on what we had a conversation.

'I agreed to talk to the media myself. We also agreed we would discuss things more clearly in the morning.

'The speculation has not been started by the IFA but by the media.

'It has been a traumatic week for Lawrie. There has been a lot of pressure following the Iceland game.'

Northern Ireland lost that match 3-0 but recovered superbly to defeat Spain 3-2 at Windsor Park.

Sanchez was then seen taking off his IFA blazer and tie and throwing them into the crowd fuelling rumours it was a farewell gesture.