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Hands off plea for Irish duo

CLUB managers Mick McCarthy and Roberto Martinez have issued a stern hands off warning to Premier League rivals over their in-form Irish players Kevin Doyle and James McCarthy.

The Irish duo only moved to the English Premier League, for a combined fee of £7million, last summer when Doyle left Reading for Wolves while McCarthy quit SPL side Hamilton to join Wigan.

But their valuation on the transfer market has rocketed after a season which has seen Doyle and McCarthy score eight goals between them and the pair would now cost at least £12m.

Arsenal and Liverpool have both been linked with teenager McCarthy, who made his Ireland debut against Brazil earlier this month, while Doyle has a long list of admirers due to his superb form for Wolves.

But Wolves boss McCarthy believes that Doyle will spurn any suitors if the Molineux club avoid relegation this season and insists that he does not want to sell the Wexford-born star.

"Let's stay in the league. We can discuss that," said McCarthy ahead of tonight's Premier League game away to West Ham.

"He loves it where he is. It's what makes the world go around, if a bigger, better, richer club gets in his head like any other player. But let me say, no-one would turn his head.

"I hope he scores another five or six goals and he is brilliant, keeps us up and everyone wants him and then we have a problem to deal with. I'd like to have that problem," added McCarthy, who was delighted with Doyle's selfless display in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

"He has had another great performance. We knew what we were buying. He was our signature player. I knew what I was buying and he's been everything I thought and probably more."

Wigan are aware that Arsenal have been keeping a special eye on McCarthy this season and it seems that a summer move for the Glasgow native is inevitable, but boss Martinez wants to keep McCarthy, and highly-rated forward Victor Moses, at the club.

"Can Wigan keep them? You'll have to ask the chairman that but I think they want to play 60 games for Wigan and them move on to the next level, but they are not ready for that yet," said Martinez.

"Maybe because they are ready to play in the Premier League now at that young age shows they are mature, but I don't think they want to go anywhere else."