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Former Toon Star Does Not Fear Racist Abuse
Published : 15 Oct 2012 21:07:47
Former Toon defender Stuart Pearce is confident his England Under-21 side will not be subjected to racist abuse when they travel to Serbia.
The Young Lions defend a 1-0 advantage in the second leg of their European Championship play-off on Tuesday.
Dealing with the Serbian threat on the field is the priority, with it hoped that those in the stands will not steal the headlines for all of the wrong reasons.
Pearce believes there will be no repeat of the scenes which marred England's last meeting with Serbia, at the 2007 championships, when UEFA officials were forced into an impromptu anti-racism announcement after Nedum Onuoha was targeted by a pocket of supporters.
Stuart Pearce: "That was some years ago and we have no fears in that respect.
"I believe that everything has moved on since then. My only concern is the match and making sure our players are prepared for the game and any eventuality that may occur during it.
"Anything else over and above that will be dealt with by the authorities and the referee, as it normally is on the night.
"We have got some experienced heads in the dressing room. I think they are mature enough to deal with the atmosphere they will face.
"Admittedly, they are only young but every time we have taken them into Europe, we think they have had a decent grounding at their club.
"This tie is far from finished and they'll make it very unpleasant for us but we will set the team up to win."