Long and McCarthy are 'not for sale'
THE respective club managers of Shane Long and James McCarthy insist that the highly regarded Irish internationals are not for sale.
Long has emerged as a transfer window target for Serie A side Lazio, while McCarthy has been linked with another move away from Wigan, with Everton reported to be on his trail. However, Roberto Martinez and Steve Clarke expect no January business with regard to the pair.
"The mention of him being linked with Lazio is all speculation," said Clarke, who said Long is focused on a return to old club Reading this weekend. "There has been one bid for one player (Jonas Olsson) and it has been turned down. So, for us, it's not a problem. It's easy to say no."
Martinez has gone on the record to say that McCarthy will one day join a top-four club, but he does not expect it to happen this month, particularly with Wigan in another relegation battle. His club colleague Maynor Figueroa is also in demand.
"We've yet to receive any offers," said Martinez. "They're not for sale. I always said that it's a real compliment when you have teams looking at your players. It doesn't surprise me.
"We have players that can attract anyone's interest, but that won't bring any negatives towards the squad. It's a football compliment, a feel-good factor. Individual situations will always be resolved in the best interests of the football club."
Meanwhile, Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is set to restore James McClean to his favoured wide role after completing a £4m move for Bursaspor midfielder Alfred N'Diaye.
O'Neill followed the lead of Giovanni Trapattoni by deploying McClean in a central berth against Liverpool and Tottenham. Trapattoni experimented with the Derry man in that department for last August's friendly in Serbia.
"I thought that James would give us a bit of physical strength in there," said O'Neill. "But as to whether it is a long-term thing, I am not really sure about that. James is still learning his own position out wide and it is a different issue going in there to central midfield. But in terms of his overall game, it will do him no harm at all. Even though it is only 15 yards infield, you get a very different picture – you see things another way."