The next seven days could all but secure European football for Shamrock Rovers in 2018.Sun, Sep 24 2017
Republic of Ireland manager has Martin O'Neill has trimmed his squad for Friday's World Cup qualifier with Wales to 26 after Wes Hoolahan became the latest to be ruled out through injury.
Hoolahan will miss several weeks after injuring his quad in action for Norwich City at the weekend, and he's joined on the treatment table by Harry Arter (calf), Ciaran Clark (knee), David McGoldrick (knee), Rob Elliot (knee) and Reading duo Liam Kelly and Paul McShane (both hamstring).
The squad took part in their first training session ahead of their crunch 2018 World Cup qualifier today at FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown on Monday morning.
Captain Seamus Coleman and Aberdeen winger Johnny Hayes both sat out training due to ankle issues, as did Daryl Murphy who underwent a scan for his calf injury, but O'Neill is confident all will be fit to feature.
Newcomers John Egan and Conor Hourihane took part, as did Robbie Brady fresh off his hat-trick of Three FAI International Football Awards, despite being suspended for the Wales game. James McCarthy was also in attendance after linking up with the squad this morning.
“It’s the lengthiest list of injuries I’ve known since coming into the job and unfortunately it’s happened at a real crucial time for us,” O'Neill said at the post-training press conference.
“However other players will have to step up and be ready. It is what it is and we’ll have to get on with it, and we’ll be ready for Friday.”
The former Sunderland manager then turned his attention to the state of the group as well as the upcoming fixtures.
“We’ve got off to a decent start. We’ve got some matches at home coming up and that’s where it’ll be decided. But this has always been a group where teams are capable of taking points off each other.”
“Wales won’t feel like they’re out of it by any stretch of the imagination and their own experiences from the Euros will stand them in really good stead.”
“This game comes at a time where we’ve had to look at major players being out, but as I said before it’s an opportunity for someone else to step in and we’ll go at it with as much gusto as possible.”
The Boys in Green face Wales this coming Friday the 24th before taking on Iceland in an International friendly on the 28th both at the Aviva Stadium.
Republic of Ireland squad to face Wales and Iceland:
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Keiren Westwood, Colin Doyle
Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce, John O'Shea, Andy Boyle, John Egan, Stephen Ward
Midfielders: Aiden McGeady, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Conor Hourihane, David Meyler, Eunan O'Kane, James McClean, Jonathan Hayes, Daryl Horgan, Callum O'Dowda
Forwards: Jonathan Walters, Shane Long, Daryl Murphy, Kevin Doyle
There was one change to the Wales squad. Liverpool's Harry Wilson has come in to replace the injured Tom Lawrence who has withdrawn from the squad.
Wilson made his international debut in October 2013 against Belgium when he replaced Gareth Bale as the youngest ever player to represent Wales.
The Wales Squad in Full:
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Danny Ward (Huddersfield Town, on-loan from Liverpool), Owain Fon Williams (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)
Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham Hotspurs), James Chester (Aston Villa), James Collins (West Ham), Joe Walsh (Milton Keynes Dons), Chris Gunter (Reading), Jazz Richards (Cardiff City), Neil Taylor (Aston Villa), Ashley Williams (Everton)
Midfielders: Joe Allen (Stoke City), Andy King (Leicester City), Dave Edwards (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Harry Wilson (Liverpool), Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace), Shaun McDonald (Wigan Athletic), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Forwards: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion), Tom Bradshaw (Barnsley), Sam Vokes (Burnley), Ben Woodburn (Liverpool)