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banner Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
McCarthy dismisses safety fears
Mick McCarthy
McCarthy is not daunted by a trip to the Middle East
Mick McCarthy has said he expects his players to travel to the Middle East for the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifying play-off game.

McCarthy's team will face either Iran or the United Arab Emirates in their play-off game.

Both Middle East sides finished behind automatic qualifiers Saudi Arabia, and now play in an Asian World Cup play-off to determine who will play the Republic.

I'll pick the squad and expect them to travel
Mick McCarthy

Iran lost to Bahrain in a crucial qualfying match on Sunday and there were riots in Tehran after Fifa rejected a complaint by the Iranians that Bahrain had fielded ineligible players.

Despite the riots and the instability in the region following US air strikes in Afghanistan, McCarthy will travel to Iran on Wednesday to watch the first-leg of the Asian play-off.

The Republic manager does not expect any problems and does not expect players to withdrew from the trip over security fears.

"I'm going out there first and I would not expect my players to do anything I would not be prepared to do myself," said McCarthy.

"We have checked it out with the right people and it does not seem as though there is a problem with travelling.

"I'll pick the squad and expect them to travel.

"If someone says they are not coming there is nothing I can do about it but I do not expect that to happen."

We will of course be guided by Fifa at all times
Irish FA chief executive Brendan Menton

Clinton Morrison has already expressed his willingness to travel despite the risks.

"I would be a little bit scared to go, but I definitely want to be there," said the Crystal Palace striker.

"I would go definitely, it would be a great chance for me to maybe become part of the team."

The Irish FA's chief executive Brendan Menton has no worries about the squad receiving the necessary insurance cover for these trips to either Iran or the UAE.

"Even though Iran is on the border with Afghanistan, the capital Tehran is many hundreds of miles away from the current area of conflict," said Menton.

"We will of course be guided by Fifa at all times."

He said arrangements were "in full swing" for the first leg of the Republic's play-off in Dublin on 10 November.

Republic boss Mick McCarthy
"I will expect my players to travel"
Republic of Ireland's Kenny Cunningham
"There's a fierce determination amongst the players to make the World Cup finals"
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