McCarthy's Irish Springbok

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The Independent Online
Don't laugh, but a South African striker playing in Germany could be Mick McCarthy's first recruit for the Republic of Ireland.

The Republic's manager watched Karlsruhe's Sean Dundee in action on Wednesday after being tipped off that he could qualify for the green jersey through his grandparents.

Even though Dundee "didn't get a kick", McCarthy, whose first game in charge of an ageing team is against Russia in Dublin on 27 March, will be back. "Once we establish for sure that he's qualified, I'll be talking to him to see if he's interested," he said.

On the subject of divided support for him at the Football Association of Ireland, McCarthy said: "I cannot afford to let things like that bother me.I'm not fooling myself that everybody wanted me. Jack Charlton wasn't a unanimous choice, but he stuck to being his own man and I intend to do likewise."

David Batty was left to his own devices yesterday when Newcastle continued their news black-out leading up to Monday's match between the Premiership's two top by refusing to hold a formal news conference to complete the pounds 4m signing of the Blackburn midfielder.

The clubs agreed terms last week and the delay means that Batty will now miss only one match through suspension, because Blackburn played at Villa on Wednesday.

Batty will sit out Monday's showdown with Manchester United at St James' Park, but is "raring to go", as is another international, the Brazilian, Branco, at Middlesbrough. "I am really looking forward to playing with Bryan Robson. I have a lot of respect for a champion like him," said the 31-year-old defender, who may play against Everton tomorrow.

Rangers have completed the pounds 1.5m signing of the Danish international striker Erik Bo Andersen from Aalborg.

Gullit's glee, page 27

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