Monday, February 9, 2009

Ireland will make late decision on McShane

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni will make a late decision on Paul McShane ahead of Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

The 23-year-old County Wicklow born defender trained with his team-mates in Malahide today after sitting out yesterday's session.

McShane reported for international duty as he continued his recovery from the hamstring injury he suffered in the Barclays Premier League victory over Fulham on 27 January having missed his club's last three games.

However, despite his presence on the training pitch this afternoon, assistant boss Marco Tardelli has admitted a final decision will be taken on his fitness tomorrow.

Tardelli said: 'Paul McShane is so-so, but we will decide on him probably tomorrow morning or afternoon.

'But in training, he was fine.'

Stephen Kelly, who made his debut for Stoke City at Sunderland on Saturday after completing a loan move from Birmingham City, is standing by to deputise for a man who has become a regular in the side under Trapattoni.

Even if McShane does make it, the Italian has already lost one member of his defensive pool with 20-year-old Preston player Eddie Nolan, who was called up from the Under-21s squad following Steve Finnan's withdrawal, having returned to his club with an Achilles problem.

However, the news is better of Reading striker Kevin Doyle, who was briefly knocked unconscious in a collision with North End keeper Andy Lonergan during the 0-0 Coca-Cola Championship draw between the sides at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The 25-year-old, who was last night named Ireland's Player of the Year at the FAI's International Awards ceremony, trained today after also missing yesterday's session and showed know ill effects.

Tardelli said: 'He is fine - you saw him.'

Doyle lined up alongside skipper Robbie Keane in a game at the end of training in a side which featured Kelly at right-back and Blackburn Rovers' Keith Andrews alongside Glenn Whelan in central midfield, with Steven Reid injured and Andy Reid not included in the squad.

Keane has found himself in the spotlight once again in the last week or so having ended his miserable spell at Liverpool with a move back to former club Tottenham Hotspur.

He made his second debut for Spurs in yesterday's North London derby draw with Arsenal, and Tardelli revealed he joined up with a spring in his step.

He said: 'He is good. I have spoken to him and he told me everything is okay. He has no problems.

'He is very happy to be back at Tottenham, and today he trained very well. He is happy.'

Asked is his return to White Hart Lane might restore any lost confidence after a difficult six months on Merseyside, Tardelli replied: 'I am sure of it because this is the Ireland team.'

The side head into Wednesday night's game at Croke Park knowing a second victory over the Georgians - they beat them 2-1 at the neutral venue of Mainz's Bruchweg Stadium in Germany in September - would take them level on points with Group Eight leaders Italy.

However, while Tardelli, like his compatriot Trapattoni, would relish putting the pressure on his native country, he knows hugely experienced coach Hector Cuper will have his own sights set firmly on revenge.

He said: 'It's a very, very important game. It will be very difficult because Hector Cuper is a good coach who has changed Georgia.'

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