Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kevin Doyle: Beat Bulgaria and make it a two-horse race for qualification

Kevin Doyle has spoken of the importance of getting three points against Bulgaria in next months crucial World Cup Group 8 qualifier in Croke Park.

Doyle helped Ireland join Italy at the top of their World Cup qualifying group following last week’s 2-1 win over Georgia.

Trapattoni’s men now face a home match against Bulgaria at the end of next month before facing a trip to Italy four days later.

Doyle said: “We will look to get a win at home and then whatever we can get away, but we need to keep the pressure on by beating Bulgaria.

“Top goes straight through and the second goes into a play-off which is tough. If we can get a win against Bulgaria it means it’s virtually impossible for them to catch us.”

And Doyle says being named Ireland’s Player of the Year is an honour.

The Reading and Ireland striker was last week named the FAI’s top man for his heroics in 2008.

And he now has a crucial role in his country’s bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup and has played in every competitive game under Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

Doyle said: “I was up against Shay Given and John O’Shea so I am very happy to win because that is stiff competition. I am delighted with it. It’s a real honour.

“John has won a Champions League and Shay Given is one of the busiest and best keepers in the league. They have both played well for Ireland and I won’t forget this in a hurry.

“It is nice to win because the people who have won the award before have been pretty good.”

Doyle suffered a miserable season with Reading last year as the club were relegated from the Premier League, but he has bounced back to form during this campaign.

He added: “My year wasn’t fantastic with Reading because of relegation, but I did pretty well for Ireland and the last six months for Reading has been pretty good.

“It is nice to be recognised by other people and have them think I am doing well. The press in Ireland obviously think I did a decent job, so that is good, especially considering who I was up against.”

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