Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Andrews to start for Ireland

Keith Andrews will start for Ireland in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Georgia at Croke Park.

Blackburn player Andrews will partner Glenn Whelan in central midfield with Manchester United youngster Darron Gibson losing his starting place.

Dublin born Andrews will earn his second cap after scoring on his debut in the friendly defeat by Poland in November.

Sunderland's Paul McShane remains a fitness doubt for the game.

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni confirmed to the Football Association of Ireland website that 28-year-old Andrews would earn a starting role.

A decision on McShane's availability will be made after Tuesday evening's training session in Dublin.

McShane trained on Monday but assistant boss Marco Tardelli said that the defender's hamstring injury made his prospects of starting "so-so".

Birmingham's Stephen Kelly, who is currently on loan at Stoke, is McShane's most likely replacement.

Preston's Eddie Nolan is out of the squad because of an Achilles injury.

Uncapped Nolan was only drafted into the squad on Sunday following Steve Finnan's withdrawal.

Sunderland defender McShane has been out of action since picking up his injury in the win over Fulham on 27 January.

Kelly made his debut for Stoke at Sunderland on Saturday after completing a loan move from Birmingham.

Ireland head into Wednesday night's game knowing a second victory over Georgia - they beat them 2-1 at the neutral venue of Mainz in September - would take them level on points with Group Eight leaders Italy.

Shay Given - Manchester City
Paul McShane – Sunderland (subject to fitness)
John O'Shea - Manchester United
Richard Dunne - Manchester City
Kevin Kilbane - Hull City
Aiden McGeady - Glasgow Celtic
Glenn Whelan - Stoke City
Keith Andrews - Blackburn Rovers
Damien Duff - Newcastle United
Kevin Doyle - Reading
Robbie Keane – Spurs

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