Football: Charlton hedges bets with Slaven

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THE mysterious decline of the European champions, Denmark, is due to be investigated by Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland on 14 October, writes Derek Hodgson.

If the Danes are thinking of building air-raid shelters before the World Cup qualifer in Copenhagen they should be warned: Charlton is thinking of slipping a mole under them. Yesterday he called up Middlesbrough's nippy 31-year-old striker, Bernie Slaven, to supplement a strikeforce that will be lacking the injured Tommy Coyne and Tony Cascarino.

The likelihood is that Charlton will stay with the successful spearhead of John Aldridge and Niall Quinn but he will no doubt keep the Danes guessing until the last minute and Slaven, as he pointed out, has been a key player in Middlesbrough's successful start to Premier League membership.

Charlton emphasised: 'With so many matches being played at the moment it's impossible to say who is likely to play in Copenhagen but Slaven has done well for Boro.' Slaven joins his club-mates, Alan Kernaghan and Chris Morris, in a 22-man squad which will show further changes. Ronnie Whelan has already dropped out after a thigh operation and Mick McCarthy will have to prove his fitness.

The Republic lead Group Three with four points from victories over Albania and Latvia. Denmark have only two points from scoreless draws against Latvia and Lithuania.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD (v Denmark, Copenhagen, 14 October): Bonner (Celtic), Kelly (Newcastle Utd), Irwin (Manchester Utd), Morris (Middlesbrough), Phelan (Manchester City), Staunton (Aston Villa), McCarthy (Millwall), Kernaghan (Middlesbrough), McGrath (Aston Villa), McLoughlin (Portsmouth), Townsend (Chelsea), Keane (Nottm Forest), Houghton (Aston Villa), Sheedy (Newcastle Utd), McGoldrick (Crystal Palace), Quinn (Manchester City), Aldridge (Tranmere Rovers), Byrne (Sunderland), Slaven (Middlesbrough).

Yugoslavia were formally thrown out of the 1994 World Cup yesterday under the United Nations sanctions. They will not be replaced because group matches are already under way. Fifa had delayed the decision 'as a gesture of goodwill and hope'. Branko Bulatovic, the general secretary of the Yugoslav football federation, said the ban was 'inhuman and drastic as are the sanctions'.

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