McClean passed fit to travel
Soccer:Sunderland winger James McClean has won his fitness battle and will fly to Kazakhstan with the Republic of Ireland today. McClean was a doubt for Friday’s World Cup qualifier having been troubled by a sore throat since he met up with the Irish camp at the weekend, but it is understood that he has been deemed fit enough to travel.
The other 22 members of Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad have also been passed fit and will make the 3,000-mile trip to the former Soviet republic today. Trapattoni said yesterday that McClean is likely to start on the bench in Friday’s game, with the Italian preferring Nottingham Forest man Simon Cox to play in midfield instead.
Trapattoni also confirmed yesterday that intends to give Wigan midfielder James McCarthy his first competitive start for the Republic and added that Jon Walters of Stoke is ahead of Kevin Doyle in the running to partner captain Robbie Keane up front.
Ireland are hoping to get their Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign off to the best possible start given that they have been placed in a difficult group that contains Germany, Sweden and Austria. After Friday night’s game the squad will fly to London where they will play Oman in a friendly at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night.