| 8.3°C Dublin

O'Neill urges Baggies fans to help out McClean

Michael O'Neill

Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill wants West Brom supporters to take action if former Baggies player James McClean suffers sectarian abuse when he lines out for Stoke away to his former club tonight.

McClean, who has been subjected to anti-Irish chanting and comments by opposing fans at home and away games this season, could get a tough reception if he features away to WBA.

The FA have already issued charges against Barnsley over the treatment which the Derry native had there, but if some WBA fans vent their anger at their former player, Stoke manager Michael O'Neill wants to see a reaction from fellow supporters before the matter is dealt with by the FA or police.

"It is racist, this behaviour. I grew up in a society with sectarianism, so I know full well what that's like.

"I just hope supporters of clubs will realise it's in no one's benefit to behave like this," O'Neill said ahead of tonight's Championship tie.

"If the authorities have to assist, that will be the case, but I still look at people and think if someone behaves like that can you not turn around and say, 'What are you doing?

"For some reason, James McClean is a symbol of this type of chanting.

"It's unnecessary. It's unfair on him, on his family and it's not particularly pleasant.

"I think James will go there to show people at West Brom that he's still a top player. I think in the period he was there he was very good for them so I think they will hopefully recognise that."