Mick McCarthy believes Giovanni Trapattoni can inspire his old Ireland team to the World Cup finals in the forthcoming playoffs against France.
McCarthy, whose Wolves side beat Wexford Youths 2-1 in a friendly on Monday night, will be at Croke Park for the first leg and is confident he can witness a famous Irish win.
“I looked at the fixtures and I have to be honest -- I’d sooner be going to France in the second leg than going to Portugal, Russia or Greece,” said McCarthy.
“If they can keep a clean sheet in Ireland I’d be happier going to France than going to Greece with the atmosphere there, or Russia, possibly playing on a plastic pitch, or Portugal, who I’ve seen playing in the last three games and probably shouldn’t have ended up in the playoffs.
“I wouldn’t be so negative about playing France, and they did finish second in the group remember.”
McCarthy also believes that previous World Cup experience will stand to the senior members of the current squad, even with a tough task ahead in Paris for the second leg.
“Ireland has never had an away leg first, not since I can remember. Belgium at home, Belgium away, Turkey at home, Turkey away, Iran at home, Iran away,” added the former Irish captain.
“They don’t come much harder than that in the last game -- Turkey and Iran away. I think they can do it, because they are hard to beat and Trapattoni has got a list of successes as long as my arm and my leg put together.
“There’s every chance they can do it because they’ve got good players and they’ll have the belief.”