Belfast Telegraph

No risk on road to Turkey: Shaw

By Graham Luney

Irish FA president Jim Shaw has admitted it is a "great shame" that many Northern Ireland fans will be reluctant to travel to the friendly clash in Turkey this month.

Northern Ireland will face Turkey at the Adana 5 Ocak Stadium in Adana on Friday, November 15 (7pm).

However, Adana is situated in the southern part of the country, close to the border with Syria where bloody civil war is ongoing.

The Irish FA clearly feel it's safe enough for the team to make the trip, however supporters are likely to be less enthusiastic.

Boss Michael O'Neill, who is set to agree a new contract to stay on as Northern Ireland boss, needs to improve the team's fortunes on the road but he won't be able to rely on loud backing from the Green and White Army in Adana.

Shaw concedes that supporters will not find the location of the game an enticing prospect.

"We received assurances from the Turkish FA that there would be no problems and we don't envisage any," said Shaw.

"David Currie (Head of International Administration) was out there and checked the place out. We were satisfied enough to proceed with the game. However, I can understand that supporters being put off by the idea of travelling to the venue and that is a real shame.

"The Turkish FA like to stage matches throughout the country and this area was their selection for the game.

"In the end, we were satisfied that there was no major risk of going. If there was we would have said no to it.

"We would not have anticipated a significant number of fans of course anyway."

Northern Ireland have lost their last three meetings with Turkey, the most recent encounter a 2-0 defeat for Nigel Worthington's side in Connecticut in May 2010.

The Turks finished fourth in World Cup qualifying Group D behind the Netherlands, Romania and Hungary. Managed by Fatih Terim, they won five, drew one and lost four of their qualifiers and lie 40th in the Fifa world rankings, 50 places above O'Neill's men.

Northern Ireland did finish a disappointing campaign with a 1-1 draw in Israel and now a new deal is being finalised with O'Neill whose current contract runs until the end of the year.

"Talks are going well but it's not completed just yet," added Shaw.

Belfast Telegraph


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