Republic of Ireland assistant manager Kevin MacDonald is ready to shout himself hoarse in a bid to have Steve Staunton's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign off and running.

MacDonald takes charge for Saturday's clash against Cyprus in Nicosia due to Staunton's one-match touch-line ban. The manager was suspended by Uefa after being dismissed from the dug-out in the 1-0 defeat to Germany in Stuttgart last month. Under Uefa rules, Staunton cannot have any contact with the team or coaching staff once Ireland enter the GSP Stadium.

With Sir Bobby Robson, the Republic's consultant and Staunton's assistant, recuperating from surgery to remove a small brain tumour, MacDonald is in charge.

Aston Villa's reserve team coach will be assisted by Alan Kelly and Pat Devlin.

MacDonald, after more than a decade with Villa after previously working at Leicester, said: "Every time I come away with Ireland it's great for me, and very important, but this time it's different, exciting, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

"Hopefully with people like Alan and Pat alongside me, and with Stan before the game, we will cover all eventualities.

"The players haven't said much about the situation, although they have heard me shouting on the training ground even louder. With me struggling with a cold at the moment, I think they're hoping I'll lose my voice by the time Saturday night comes along."